A new law has been proposed by the UK Government banning home deliveries of knives bought online. This could be the end of TOG Knives and other UK knife producers who sell on the internet. The law and other measures to tackle knife crime in the UK are to be reviewed in Autumn 2017.
At TOG, we agree with the Government that more could be done to stop teenagers buying knives and that this could help reduce knife crime. However, their proposal as it stands makes it impossible for businesses like ours to operate. Customers would be required to collect from retail outlets so their age can be checked but.. we don’t have any retail outlets!
Some couriers and Royal Mail do offer Age Verification on Delivery. Research by The Guardian found that this can be circumvented by teenagers. For me, that’s a failure by the courier and the law should be tightened up to make the couriers accountable. At TOG we have introduced Age Verification on Delivery but this is voluntary for knife sellers – it should be made a requirement for online knife sales.
I’ve written to my MP (a copy of the letter is below) and so far been told “Dr Fox will certainly take up these issues with the Home Secretary”, which is positive. If you’re in agreement and still want to be able to buy knives from independent knifemakers, I encourage you to write to your MP too.
Bert’s Letter to MP Dr. Liam Fox:
Attn: Liam Fox MP
Tuesday 25 July 2017
Dear Dr. Liam Fox,
I am the owner of a small business just outside Bristol designing and supplying high-end kitchen knives for sale via our own website, via Amazon and via high street stores such as Kitchens Cookshop. My knives have recently appeared on Saturday Kitchen on BBC1.
I recently read an article published by the Guardian on 18th July regarding the knife crime measures proposed by Amber Rudd which I understand are to be reviewed this Autumn.
Clearly with the recent rise in knife crime in England and Wales, the Government is right to want to do something about it. I agree that making it harder for under 18’s to get hold of knives could reduce knife crime and I fully support the Government in trying to do this.
I am writing to point out, though, the there are many small internet-based businesses such as mine making knives which rely on being able to deliver knives and bladed tools to residential addresses. The new legislation would make it impossible for them to operate. I think the majority of these artisan producers would go out of business with no means of distribution.
My suggestion is that rather than banning home deliveries of knives altogether, the Government should consider making Age Verification on Delivery compulsory for the online purchase of knives whilst at the same time holding the couriers accountable if they deliver without obtaining age verification. The Guardian’s investigation found that the couriers were not carrying out the checks that they should have been, so this seems to be the issue. Why don’t we put measures in place to ensure that those checks are always carried out? That way, hopefully we can deny teenagers the ability to buy knives online whilst also allowing businesses like TOG Knives to continue to operate. We dispatch knives worldwide so it’s not possible for my business to require customers to collect in person – we don’t have any retail outlets.
I hope you will consider proposing an amendment to this series of measures so that businesses like mine can continue to operate.