London, July 29 (IANS) Nearly one in four shops is breaking the law on knife sales to minors, with blades sold to children as young as 12, a report revealed on Saturday.
The report issued by the Local Government Association (LGA), machetes, nine-inch serrated knives, razor blades and craft knives were being sold to children across England and Wales.
Major supermarket chains were among the offenders, the Guardian quoted the report as saying.
The results, which the LGA said were alarming, follow widespread concern at police-recorded crime figures, which found a 20 per cent rise in knife offences to 34,703 incidents – the highest level in seven years.
Responding to the new crime figures, the head of parliament’s youth violence commission said that 2017 could be a new low point for knife deaths in the UK, calling for an “urgent, united and societal response” to the problem.
“Indications so far suggest that knife crime and knife-related deaths will be much higher in 2017 than in previous years,” said Labour MP Vicky Foxcroft, who established the commission last year after a spate of killings of young people in her Lewisham constituency.
Foxcroft suggested that the number of incidents was likely to be higher because many people who went to hospital with stab wounds did not go to the police.
“We need to have much more accurate reporting,” the Guardian quoted the MP as saying.
In London, where knives have been behind a spate of murders, 96 out of 725 test purchases carried out saw knives and blades sold to children as young as 13 including a national supermarket chain, the LGA report said.
In London, 19 traders were prosecuted or have cases pending. Others received official warnings or provided with compliance advice.
The total number of children and teenagers killed in 2017 by violence involving knives has reached 21.