A video produced by Southwark Council Trading Standards has highlighted how some local shops are selling knives to young teenagers.
The short video, produced as part of a London-wide campaign, shows a young girl from Peckham posing as a “secret shopper” and purchasing a blade.
Staff at the shop in Rye Lane (which cannot be named) didn’t bother to ask the girl for proof she was over the age of eighteen.
Southwark’s Trading Standards unit made the video to raise awareness of its ‘Challenge 25’ scheme, meaning that if a customer looks under 25, the retailer must always ask for suitable proof of age.
So far this year across London, out of 315 test purchases, 50 sales were made to volunteers aged between thirteen and seventeen. Knives, including kitchen knives, utility knives, razor blades and cleavers were handed over the counter without question.
Since 2012 the local compliance rate in Southwark has been 77 per cent.
Knife retailers can sign up to a local partnership scheme which encourages responsible retailing. Since the scheme began in 2006 some 58 businesses have signed up.
Cllr Barrie Hargrove, cabinet member for communities, safety and leisure said: “Spot checks, such as those demonstrated by Southwark Trading Standards, of retailers are so important to keeping knives out of children’s hands. Thankfully, the majority of Southwark retailers are responsible but there is always work to do.”