One more time age verification turns out to be very necessary for the supervision of underage children. In a recent test purchase survey by the county council’s Trading Standards as part of Knife Crime Awareness Week activity, it is proved that eight out of ten retailers sell knives to underage children. Specifically, it is proved that knives are sold to a 16-year-old.
Despite that, the legislation comforts that buyers must be over 18 years old, very often and specifically in three occasions, a 16-year-old was able to buy a knife from retail premises. The rate of sales increased rapidly with online purchases from five North Yorkshire retailers. There are strict rules which should be followed by the volunteer child helpers who assist Trading Standards. In any occasion, they are forced to tell the truth and to provide proofs for their real age. Also, in online purchases retailers have an obligation to maintain age verification processes to ensure sales of knives are only to those over 18.
A sale of age-restricted products such as knives to minors is considered a criminal offense. This is one of the reasons that Trading Standards is inviting retailers to work with them, to achieve a new Responsible Retailer award for following the rules of legislation. Officers will work with participating outlets to introduce an effective age verification policy and to help training the staff. As Councilor Andrew Lee, the council’s executive member for growth, planning and trading standards, said: “Retailers have an important role to play in ensuring our young people cannot access potentially dangerous products and we urge North Yorkshire retailers to comply with their legal and social obligations.’’ The real solution of these problems is a powerful system of age verification.