Local knife manufacturers and sellers in Sheffield and across the country are deeply concerned about the impact of the Offensive Weapon Bill’s ban on delivery of their products to residential properties will have on their businesses. They completely support the objectives of the Bill but worry that it will have unintended consequences with little effect on knife crime. As drafted, the Bill would allow a sword to be delivered to someone’s home but not a kitchen knife.
These are responsible businesses who are acutely aware of the risks of knife crime so already take proactive steps to ensure their products don’t get into the hands of under 18s. I tabled an amendment to the Offensive Weapons Bill that would establish a trusted trader scheme with robust age verification that would allow responsible, pre-authorised manufacturers and retailers to continue to deliver essential home-ware to residential properties. You can read my speeches on it here and here.
Large retailers with regional shop networks might well be able to deal with age-verified collection easily and with little impact on cost, but smaller manufacturers, which use the internet to reach their markets, will struggle.
After the Government rejected my amendment in the Commons, I brought two local manufacturers down to Westminster this week to join me and Clive Betts MP in a making their case to Home Office Minister Victoria Atkins. The Bill is now in the Lords and we are working with former Labour Sheffield MP and Home Secretary, David Blunkett, to amend it there to enable responsible businesses to continue selling their products online and delivering them directly to customers’ homes.