Major UK Retailer Bans Kitchen Knife Sales in Answer to Violent Crime Wave

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Getty Images/CC0/Peter Griffin

Britain’s Poundland discount chain has announced it will stop selling kitchen knives in all of its stores to help tackle soaring youth violence.

The company, whose stores have been a major fixture on UK high streets since 1990, is the first major retailer to go ahead with the anti-knife measure recently recommended by a judge, and other brands are expected to follow suit, according to the Birmingham Mail.

As of Friday, kitchen knives are no longer available at any of its 59 West Midlands branches, Poundland said, noting that the ban will be extended to all 850 UK stores by the end of the year.

Reportedly suffering “epidemic” levels of violence, the West Midlands has the fastest growing rate of knife crime outside London, where the company banned blade sales in April after the capital saw 35 deadly stabbings in the just first few months of 2018.

Poundland retail director, Austin Cooke, said: “The decision to stop selling kitchen knives not only in the West Midlands, but nationwide, is a commitment that we know means a lot to both our colleagues and our customers.

“For a long time they’ve expressed their concern around the associated risk of having knives available and the unfortunate truth is that in the wrong hands, knives can be used for the wrong purpose.

“The safety of our colleagues and customers is crucial and we hope our fellow retailers will follow our lead,” he added.

Crime researcher Emilia Gill, from the anti-youth violence campaign JAGS Foundation, said Poundland’s decision to pull knives off the shelf was “a good start”, but argued that many lives could have been saved had companies taken action sooner.

“The problem with knives is that you can always find somewhere to access them,” she told The Sun. “So even though Poundland has decided to do this, and it’s a brilliant start, you can just walk down the street to another shop and buy a knife that is virtually the same.

Earlier this year Judge Nic Madge called for police to organise a national programme to blunt the points of the public’s kitchen knives.

Alleging long, sharp blades are unnecessary for ordinary domestic food preparation, the judge said a ban on chefs’ knives would be life-saving in Britain.

Poundland itself has long cemented itself in the British public consciousness, with comparisons between political figures and discount stores stocking a variety of items at £1 having become a popular putdown in recent years as a way to imply something is an inferior imitation of someone or something else.

UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson was labelled ‘a Poundland Donald Trump’ by the leader of the Liberal Democrats in September in 2017, while European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker has been branded a ‘pound shop Bismarck’ determined to blackmail Briitish taxpayers. Brexit leader Nigel Farage was famously labelled a “pound shop Enoch Powell” by former YouTube video blogger Russell Brand, who in turn was described as a “pound shop Ben Elton” on a TV quiz panel show in 2015.

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