The British Home Enhancement Trade Association (BHETA) responsible knife retailing steering group has met with the Metropolitan Police Business Care Hub.
The meeting which took place on 4th March discussed forthcoming Offensive Weapons Act legislation – now expected in the summer – as well as proactive police and trading standards initiatives in respect of the legitimate retail of bladed items.
The meeting also heard from Tony Allen, CEO of the Age Check Certification Scheme and Co-Chair of the Government Panel for Age Verification; whose organisation scrutinises the efficacy of age verification in all its many current forms. The other key speaker was Steve Richardson, marketing manager of BHETA who is spearheading BHETA’s ground-breaking liaison with the relevant experts, as well as driving BHETA’s initiatives to help supplier members and retailers comply with current and future legislation and market demands in this area.
The Metropolitan Police updated the round table forum on the relevant statistics and political emphasis, including its own new initiatives to record and analyse data on seized weapons with a view to advising on home / work storage of items in circulation as well as new product in retail. It also supplied an outline of its guidance initiative aimed at SME retail regarding kitchen knives and welcomed feedback from suppliers and larger retailers at the forum on how this might be improved prior to wider roll out to retail in general, to parents and the general public. The forum also touched on the potential for testing round ended kitchen knives for the mass market from the perspective of suppliers and retailers.
From a technical viewpoint, Tony Allen supplied a fascinating overview of current age verification methods and how they will evolve. He offered practical suggestions regarding retail procedures, packaging and barcodes; as well as the most practical areas of government and other interested parties to approach, from a lobbying perspective.
In addition to welcoming what was a clear spirit of co-operation for the development of future best practice, BHETA’s marketing manager, Steve Richardson updated all parties on its lobbying regarding the multiple confusions in the initial OWA draft, liaison with Trading Standards and BHETA’s liaison with the Wine & Spirit Trade Associations (WSTA) to develop its Challenge 25 retail POS and packaging initiative for bladed items.
There is now a suite of officially sanctioned Challenge 25 artwork for suppliers, retailers and delivery companies involved in the legitimate supply of age-restricted bladed items such as kitchen knives and DIY and garden tools – all available through the BHETA member services team and including artwork for labels, posters, shelf barkers and badges for use in the retail; and for supplier packaging and labels for outer cartons used in home delivery.
BHETA’s chief executive officer, Will Jones, chaired the meeting and commented: “This was a hugely positive event involving the best-informed opinion on the current situation regarding the legitimate purchase of bladed items through all retail channels.
“We achieved some great consensus on a number of positive ways forward, and BHETA alongside the other parties will be following up keenly.”