Co-op withdraws kitchen knives from sale
The Co-operative supermarket chain has become the latest retailer to stop selling kitchen knives in response to the increase in their use as weapons.
Steve Murrells, the Co-op’s chief executive, said: “We’ve launched our safer colleague, safer community campaign to support colleague safety and help identify the causes of community crime. This has seen us remove kitchen knives from sale in our stores.
The rise in the number of fatal stabbings in recent months has prompted government action, including controversial plans to involve teachers in prevention as well as changes to legislation that have made it easier for police to stop and search people.
The Co-op’s move follows that of Asda, which last month said it would withdraw single kitchen knives – the items most commonly stolen off shelves – from its stores.
Asda was one of several companies to sign a voluntary agreement in 2016 to display and package knives more securely after a man was stabbed with a knife from a Poundland shop. The incident prompted Poundland to stop selling kitchen knives in 2018.
Between March 2017 and March 2018 there were 285 killings involving a knife or sharp instrument in England and Wales – the highest number since Home Office records began in 1946. The number has risen four years in a row after a long-term decline.
Last month, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced an extra £100 million in funding for police forces in England and Wales over the course of the next year “to pay for additional overtime targeted specifically on knife crime”.