In a launch event at Vinay's Shoe Care in Upper Holloway, Islington Council’s Executive Member for Community Safety, Cllr Andy Hull, joined with shop owner Vinay Chohan, as well as Superintendent Dave Moorhead from the Metropolitan Police and Chief Executive of the Ben Kinsella Trust, Patrick Green, to launch the ‘No Knife Shop’ scheme which encourages local businesses to pledge not to sell knives, unless it is a core part of their business.
Despite a reduction this year in the number of knife crime offences in Islington, knife- rime remains a serious concern in the borough and around London as a whole. Knives used in violent crimes include kitchen knives, box cutters and other small blades designed for DIY and household usage.
There are many legitimate, everyday reasons for buying and selling knives, but for many shops – particularly convenience stores and corner shops selling a wide variety of products – knives are often an extremely minor part of the business. At the same time, Islington Council’s trading standards team spends significant time and resources advising businesses on how to sell knives responsibly and within the law, as well as enforcing the age restriction on the sale of knives.
Recognising that shops are an integral part of the fabric of the local community and frequently have a strong focus on helping to improve the communities of which they are part, the ‘No Knife Shop’ pledge aims to encourage businesses to consider whether there is a real need for them to sell knives, and to consider if they could stop selling them.
By signing up to the ‘No Knife Shop’ scheme, businesses can make a public, positive commitment to community safety and contribute to collective efforts to reduce the availability of knives in the local area. In a UK first, the ‘No Knife Shop’ scheme is an attempt to change retail thinking from “how to sell knives safely” to “why sell them at all?”
The ‘No Knife Shop’ scheme will be administered by the council and is endorsed by the Metropolitan Police and the Ben Kinsella Trust.
Cllr Andy Hull, Islington Council’s Executive Member for Community Safety, said:
“There is no acceptable level of knife crime and every single incident is one too many. We have made real progress in this area in the past year, in partnership with the police, but every new step to keep knives off the streets is worth taking.”
“Most businesses in Islington are responsible and community-minded, and those that sell knives do so in a responsible manner. But by coming together to take the ‘No Knife Shop’ pledge to limit the availability of knives, we are making a strong statement, as a community, that knife crime is not acceptable in Islington.”
Superintendent Dave Moorhead from the London Metropolitan Police, said:
“As the Metropolitan Police Partnership lead for Islington, I am immensely proud to be working together with Islington Council, Ben Kinsella Trust and local businesses to launch the No Knife Shop scheme. Your local Police continually strive to make an impact in the fight against knife crime and we seek opportunities to work with partners to target priorities which affect our communities most.
“Knife crime has an impact on us all and it is vital we take responsibility to do all we can to tackle this. While progress has been made, we can and should do more. I always welcome innovative new ideas and it is only with help from local people and businesses that we will solve this problem affecting our communities.”
Patrick Green, CEO of the Ben Kinsella Trust, said:
“Losing a loved one to knife crime is a life sentence, the pain never leaves you. We can all play a role in preventing knife crime and that is why we want to thank all the retailers who are stepping up to join this scheme. By reducing the availability of knives for sale in the borough we are sending out a really strong message to young people that buying a knife is not a frivolous thing to do. The No Knife Shop scheme shows that local businesses are serious about stopping knife crime.”
Vinay Chohan, owner of Vinay’s Shoe Care said:
“I’m proud to be the UK’s first ever No Knife Shops. Local shops are an important part of their community and we don’t want people walking into them and coming out with dangerous knives. I’m calling on other shop owners to get behind the campaign and sign up.”