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Hackney shopkeepers unite to block underage knife sales

PUBLISHED: 14:31 07 April 2014 | UPDATED: 15:07 07 April 2014

Left to right: Inspector Simon Crick, shop manager Waseem Butt and Councillor Sophie Linden

Left to right: Inspector Simon Crick, shop manager Waseem Butt and Councillor Sophie Linden

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Every single shopkeeper who sells knives in Hackney has signed a pledge, in a bid to make sure youngsters can’t get their hands on the potential weapons.

Shop manager Waseem Butt holds his pledge which ensures that knives are kept behind the counter and are sold responsiblyShop manager Waseem Butt holds his pledge which ensures that knives are kept behind the counter and are sold responsibly

In total 26 business owners have agreed to promote responsible retailing as part of the Knife Pledge Scheme established by Hackney Council and the police.

Waseem Butt, owner of hardware shop Bradbury’s in Broadway Market, London Fields was the first to sign up to the pledge to help reduce knife crime in his locality.

He said: “Young people come in to hassle us for knives, but I ask for IDs, I see their face and body and I’m asking their age, they have tried many times, two or three times a week.”

Every business has agreed to store knives in a secure area to stop thieves helping themselves, and every customer believed to be under the legal age must be asked for ID.

They have also pledged not to sell knives to anyone that they suspect may cause harm with the knife, and agreed to let police know if anyone refused a knife causes harassment, alarm or distress.

In future they will keep a “refusal register” to record failed purchase attempts by those suspected of being underage.

Insp Simon Crick joined Mr Butt and Deputy Mayor, Cllr Sophie Linden, at the scheme’s launch last week.

He said:” Knife crime ruins people’s lives and this initiative is about preventing young people from getting hold of them in the first place.

“With local businesses being better informed of their responsibilities, the Knife Pledge Scheme will help keep Hackney a safe place to live, work and socialise.”

Cllr Linden added: “Knife crime is falling in Hackney and we know the vast majority of retailers are responsible and ask for ID whenever they suspect somebody may be under age.

“Hackney’s new pledge reinforces the commitment of the council, police and businesses to making Hackney a safer place by ensuring that knives are not sold to anyone underage.”

Hackney Council trading standards already take a tough stance on shops selling knives to children and carry out regular checks to make sure retailers are not breaking the law.

Knife crime is on the decline in Hackney and since its launch in 2010 Hackney’s Intergrated Gangs Unit (IGU) partnership between the police, probation service, DWP and Hackney Council’s Young Hackney and Community Safety teams, knife crime is down.

In 2012/13 it decreased by 24 per cent, compared to 2009/10 - the year before the IGU was established.


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