The 16-year-old volunteer visited eight stores in Buxton on Saturday, June 16, and eight stores in Glossop, New Mills and Chapel-en-le-Frith on Saturday, July 21, with officers from the High Peak Youth Engagement Team and Derbyshire County Council’s Trading Standards Team.
Five stores in Buxton, one store in Glossop and one in New Mills sold a total of 11 knives and one saw without challenging the youngster, or asking to see identification.
The operation is one of the steps taken in Project Zao, an initiative that aims to discourage young people in Derbyshire from carrying knives.
As part of the Project Zao initiative, officers from our local Safer Neighbourhood policing teams in the High Peak are visiting local stores to give posters for them to display about the sale of knives.
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Inspector Phil Booth, who is in charge of policing in the High Peak, said: “No prosecutions will be taken on this occasion, as the aim behind the test purchase was to raise awareness, check how well stores were meeting their legal responsibilities around selling knives to children and to give shop managers the opportunity to support their staff with further training.
“Well done to those stores in the High Peak who were prepared to challenge a youngster trying to buy knives, but it is clear that more work is needed to ensure that are all shops are following the law over knife sales.”
It is an offence to sell a knife, knife blade, razor, axe or other article which has a blade or is sharply pointed to anyone under 18, and future test purchase operations will be carried out in the area.
Coun Carol Hart, Derbyshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Communities, said: “While most retailers conformed with the law, it is clear there is still some education needed. That is why this test-purchasing work is so vital and why the county council is keen to work with the police on under-age sales. The law is there to prevent injury and harm. In the wrong hands, sales of knives can so easily lead to tragedy.”
If you have any concerns about knifes being sold or would like some advice you can get in touch with your local Safer Neighbourhood policing team by using one of the following non-emergency contact methods:
Facebook – send a private message to /DerbyshireConstabulary
Twitter – direct message the contact centre on @DerPolContact
Website – complete the online contact form www.derbyshire.police.uk/Contact-Us.
Phone – call 101.
Please note in the event of an emergency, or if a crime is in progress, you should always call 999.
You can also call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or by visiting www.crimestoppers-uk.org.