Knife crime week of action puts spotlight on online retailers

A week of action to tackle knife crime across the UK will have a particular focus on the growing availability of knives online.

Nov 14, 2023
By Paul Jacques
Picture: MPS

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) said there is evidence that individuals are now buying “large quantities” of knives and selling them on through social media sites.

As part Operation Sceptre, which began on Monday (November 13) the NPCC said it will be looking to “build a comprehensive picture of online retailers”.

Operation Sceptre brings together all 43 police forces and British Transport Police in a week of intensified action to tackle knife crime.

Throughout the week of action, forces will coordinate activity that targets knife crime from the root cause right through to enforcement. Operation Sceptre will specifically focus on tackling and disrupting the importation and supply of knives, particularly the growing accessibility of dangerous knives which can be purchased online.

Commander Stephen Clayman, the NPCC knife crime lead, said: “We have been growing increasingly concerned about the wide range of knives which can be purchased online and while age verification is required for purchases, there is little requirement for additional checks to be made.

“We know there have been several murders in recent years where the knives used have been purchased online and we are also aware that some individuals are buying large quantities and selling them on through social media sites like TikTok and Telegram.

“Op Sceptre will include all of the usual operational tactics including education and engagement activity, knife amnesty bins, weapons sweeps and hot spot patrols but we’re also looking to build a comprehensive picture of online retailers across the country which will help to inform our engagement moving forward.”

He added: “Our approach has also been significantly strengthened with the proposed legislative changes which are being progressed to reduce the availability of certain types of machetes and to increase policing powers to seize knives.

“These offer additional robust measures to deal with those who seek to use knives for violence. Ultimately, when used appropriately, they provide a greater means to protect the public and safeguard our communities.

“Every day as police officers we see first-hand the devastating effects of these deadly weapons on the lives of individuals, particularly young people and we must always look at what action can be taken to restrict the supply chain and prevent access to knives that are used for violence, intimidation and harm.”

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