Police are trying to crack down on illegal knives sales by targeting sellers online.
Officers will be able to raise concerns over particular merchants and products for sale on the online marketplace Wish, with the company pledging to remove listings which police believe have broken UK laws.
Efforts to work with online shopping websites have been “prioritised” after it emerged that many of the illegal knives being seized by officers in the UK were originating from sellers based overseas, the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) said.
It is illegal to sell a knife to anyone under 18, unless it has a folding blade which is 3in long or less, and to sell certain types of knives.
It remains far too easy for our children to get their hands on dangerous weapons and enforcement alone is not the answer
Assistant Chief Constable Jackie Sebire, who leads the NPCC’s work on serious violence, said the plan would help officers “cut off the supply of illegal knives at their source”, adding: “Officers have been telling me for some time that the main source of the knives being used on our streets is online.
“It remains far too easy for our children to get their hands on dangerous weapons and enforcement alone is not the answer.
“Our hope is to extend the partnership to other online platforms to ensure a more unified approach to tackling knife crime.”
Last year, Wish – a site similar to eBay – brought in tougher controls to stop illegal knives from appearing in search results for UK customers.
Daniela Engel, UK country manager at Wish, pledged the company would act “promptly” to reports of illegal listings, adding: “Wish does not condone the sale of illegal knives on our platform and we have, for some time, been deploying measures to remove listings of illegal knives.
“We hope that other online marketplaces will join us in working with the police on this important issue.”