Individual kitchen knives are to be removed from sale by one of the UK’s big four supermarkets amid concerns about the country’s rising knife crime epidemic.
Asda has announced it will no longer stock such items from the end of April.
It said it had taken the decision in response to the rise in stabbings being reported across the country, particularly those involving children and young people.
Asda senior vice president Nick Jones, said such knives were one of the chain’s most commonly-stolen products, and there were concerns they could be used as weapons.
“We strongly believe that we have a responsibility to support the communities that we serve," he said.
“Whilst we have already taken steps to restrict the sale of knives to ensure that they do not fall into the wrong hands, we felt there was more we could be doing to support those looking at how to bring this issue under control.
“We know single knives are the most common knife products to be stolen and that is why we have chosen to remove these items from our stores. This is an issue that means a lot to our customers and to our colleagues, and we are committed to playing our small part in helping to make our communities safer for all.”
Asda was a founding signatory to the Home Office voluntary agreement to prevent the sale of knives to under 18s in 2016. But this new step goes further than any action taken by other supermarkets.
In response to the announcement on Friday afternoon, a Home Office spokesperson told the Yorkshire Post that the move was welcome.
“It is already illegal to sell knives to under 18s and retailers are playing their part in ensuring they don’t fall into the wrong hands,” the spokesperson said.
Knife crime was declared a national crisis this week after the stabbing to death of two teenagers – one in Manchester and one in London – in apparently unprovoked attacks within 24 hours. A-Level students Jodie Chesney and Yousef Makki were both just 17 when they were killed last weekend.
But the number of such fatal incidents have been rising for some time. More people were stabbed to death in England and Wales last year than at any time since records began in 1946.
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