Retailers could be fined up to £1million for selling knives to children Business News

Retailers could be fined up to £1million for selling knives to children under the new draft sentencing guidelines.

Two directives apply separately to individual shop owners and large retailers who fail to ensure they have adequate safeguards in place to prevent the sale of knives to under-18s in England and Wales, in-store or on line.

There are currently no sentencing guidelines for the sale of knives to minors, which is prosecuted by trading standards and dealt with in the magistrates’ courts.

Large organizations with a turnover or equivalent of £50million could be fined up to £1million, while individuals who operate small shops could be fined fine of up to 700% of their weekly income.

The Sentencing Council said while it did not expect sentences to change for most offenders, larger organizations could see higher fines under the proposals.

Fines imposed on individuals between 2016 and 2020 ranged from £34 to £6,000.

Of nearly 90 organizations fined between 2016 and 2020, 99% were fined between £150-200,000.

The new guidelines would ensure courts take a consistent approach to sentencing for knife-selling offences, the council said.

Sentencing Council Magistrate Jo King said: “Selling knives to children can have very serious consequences.

“There is a risk of serious physical harm to children who buy these knives and to others, as well as the risk of wider social harm associated with the circulation of weapons among children.

“A child who buys a knife also risks being prosecuted for possession of the knife.

“It is important that all possible safeguards are in place to prevent the sale of knives to children, and that sanctions for organizations are significant enough to make both management and shareholders aware of the need to respect the law.”

Paul Noone, Acting President of National Trading Standards, added: “Given the devastation caused by youth knife crime, Trading Standards has campaigned for consistent rules to be enforced to convict those who sell knives to children.

“We strongly support this decision by the Sentencing Council to seek to achieve this important result.”

The consultation will continue until August 24.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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This notice was published: 2022-05-31 23:09:35

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