TRADING STANDARDS TACKLE UNDER-AGE KNIFE SALES – “carrying a knife is more likely to ruin your life than save it.”
Officers from Southwark council trading standards took part in a London wide police operation to highlight the need for retailers to ‘Challenge 25’ when it comes to knife sales.
This activity formed part of a London trading standards awareness day focused on sales of knives to under-18s. A video, filmed in Southwark, detailing the operation can be viewed online.
So far this year across London, out of 315 test purchases, 50 sales were made to volunteers aged between 13 and 17. These sales included a variety of knives, including kitchen knives, utility knives, razor blades and cleavers.
Over the past five years the local compliance rate in Southwark has been 77 per cent and knife retailers can sign up to a local partnership scheme which encourages responsible retailing. Since the scheme began in 2006 some 58 businesses have signed up.
The scheme also stipulates that businesses must operate a ‘Challenge 25’ policy, meaning that if a customer looks under 25 and is attempting to buy knives, the retailer must always ask for suitable proof of age.
Alongside spot checks and enforcement, Southwark council also recognises that education and engaging with young people is also a vital to tackling knife crime.
Southwark Youth Council identified knife crime as one of their key concerns for young people in the borough and will help support the Southwark council response to knife crime.
A council spokesperson said: “The voices of young people must be heard when we talk about knife crime and the council will be actively involving the youth council as it implements the Knife Crime and Knife Carrying Action Plan.”
Cllr Barrie Hargrove, Southwark’s cabinet member for safety said: “Sadly we all know of the devastation that knife crime can bring to families and communities and all too often we see news reports of young lives lost to such violence.
“This is why we must continue to work with the Mayors Office, the Met, retailers and Trading Standards to stamp out knife crime.
“Spot checks, such as those demonstrated by Southwark trading standards, of retailers are so important to keeping knives out of children’s hands. “Thankfully, the majority of Southwark retailers are responsible but there is always work to do.
“We know that challenging retail practices is not the sole answer to dealing with knife crime but we must do everything in our power to prevent young people getting hold of knives in the first place.
“I would strongly reiterate the messages that carrying a knife is more likely to ruin your life than save it.” (Source: Southwark council press release)
MORE THAN 3,000 FINES IN FIVE MONTHS FOR LAMBETH’S LITTER LOUTS
Lambeth council have issued over 3,000 fines in five months to litterers and fly-tippers.
The fines send out a clear message that enviro-crimes will not be tolerated in Lambeth and that offenders must think twice before they act.
The majority of the fines – 2,402 of the total 3,171 handed out between 1 April and 31 August this year – were for littering and small scale fly tipping.
Other fines were issued for larger fly-tips, spitting or urinating, obstructing the highway, commercial waste offences and illegal street trading.
The crackdown is part of Lambeth’s commitment to deliver Better Streets for the borough’s residents.
Cllr Jennifer Brathwaite, Cabinet member for Environment & housing, said: “Residents rightly get angry and frustrated by litter and fly-tips in their streets, causing a nuisance and making their neighbourhoods feel dirty and scruffy.
“It annoys us as a council just as much – and it costs us a fortune to clear up.
“I’m glad officers have been out on the streets confronting offenders and issuing them fines that will make them think twice about their actions.”
The fines, between £80 and £400, have been issued both by Lambeth’s own enforcement officers and a team of environmental crime officers from contractor NSL. (Source: Lambeth council’s Love Lambeth website)
NEW LEADER AT BROMLEY COUNCIL
Cllr Colin Smith is the new leader of Bromley council following the resignation of Cllr Stephen Carr.
Cllr Smith, a ward member for Bickley, was formerly the deputy leader and executive councillor for environment, a position he has held for over 11 years.
Cllr Smith said: “Although Stephen Carr, has never sought publicity for himself, I would like to pay tribute to Stephen as both a friend and someone who has worked for and alongside him for many years.
“His leadership and vision have served Bromley residents fantastically well during a period of unprecedented austerity to local government finances and the legacy of his hard work means that the borough can now look to the future with a cautious optimism and confidence, proud of what has been achieved, but also with a steely determination to continue to put our residents interests at the very heart of everything that we do.
“He will be sorely missed and a very hard act to follow.” (Source: Bromley council press release)
STORE FINED £123,000 AFTER MICE EAT HALF A LOAF
A Streatham supermarket has been fined after a customer bought a loaf of bread that had been half eaten by mice.
The store pleaded guilty to failing to have adequate measures in place to control rodents, and were fined £123,510 by magistrates.
Lambeth council food safety inspectors made the discovery after complaints from staff as well as the unfortunate customer who purchased the bread.
“A thorough audit of the store highlighted that there were not adequate procedures in place to control pests including pest proofing to prevent rodent access” said a Lambeth council spokesperson.
“Several holes were found in proximity to pipework, which the officers assessed as a place where the pests may have entered the premises.”
Mice are known to carry dangerous pathogens that can be dangerous to human health, the spokesperson added.
“Since the incident the store have made a number of improvements in the store and council officers will continue to monitor the premises to ensure food hygiene standards are maintained.”
Cllr Mo Seedat, Lambeth’s cabinet member for community safety, said: “Obviously having rodents in a supermarket is not safe and I’m glad we acted quickly to bring this to the attention of the store in question.
“The fine shows how seriously the courts take this and will act as a warning to other retailers to make sure they follow the rules.”
After pleading guilty to two offences in relation to Regulation 19 Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013, the store was fined £60,000 for each offence, as well as prosecution costs of £3,340 and a victim surcharge of £170 at Camberwell Green magistrates court on 22 September 2017. (Source: Lambeth council’s Love Lambeth website)