The Government recognises that the online purchase of goods and services can take different forms, and that social media shopping apps may be one of the methods for obtaining items, including knives. This is why the law relating to the sale of knives to under 18s applies equally to in-store and online purchases. In addition, through the Offensive Weapons Bill, currently awaiting Royal Assent, we will stop knives being sent to residential addresses after they are bought online, unless the seller has arrangements in place with the delivery company to ensure that the product will not be delivered into the hands of a person under 18. This will help to ensure that purchasers cannot circumvent the existing law by buying knives online.
We have also agreed a set of commitments with major retailers to prevent the underage sales of knives more generally in their stores and online. The agreement also covers staff training and displays and packaging. Tesco, eBay UK, Lidl UK, Amazon UK, Wilko, Argos, Asda, Poundland, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, John Lewis and Waitrose have all signed up to the principles. They have since been joined by Boots, the Co-op, B&Q, Aldi, TKMaxx and Debenhams. We are working with retailers to strengthen the agreement in relation to displays and that work is continuing. Following on from this, Asda have announced that they will stop selling single knives in its stores by the end of April, a move supported by the Government.
In addition, on 17 June 2018 the Home Secretary announced funding of £1.4m to support a new national police capability to tackle gang related activity on social media. The hub will be fully operational by the end of May 2019.