The British Home Enhancement Trade Association (BHETA)’s responsible knife retailing steering group has secured an update on the proposed Offensive Weapons Act (OWA), which will affect the sale of bladed items. It has received a letter from the Home Office outlining the Government’s current position and had two meetings with the Metropolitan Police to discuss its latest thinking on the matter.
Simon Eglington from the Home Office Serious Violence Unit confirmed to BHETA that in relation to OWA, “It is the Government’s position that these measures should be commenced as soon as possible”. He added however that “We are concerned about the potential for placing additional demands and pressures on the retail sector, delivery and courier companies and the police at this time… We do hope to be able to give manufacturers, suppliers, importers and retailers at least three months’ notice of when the provisions are to commence.”
In subsequent meetings with the Metropolitan Police, it was suggested that the OWA legislation may well be the subject of a two-part implementation programme. Stage one may well be in the spring with a second tier of legislation in the autumn.
In the light of latest information, BHETA is convening another meeting of the steering committee in May which will hear an update on the latest information, a presentation from the Metropolitan Police on its role in the implementation, a presentation from the Age Verification Team covering their views and potential practical support and a research study report into the future design of bladed items including kitchen knives.
Commenting on the update, BHETA’s Chief Operating Officer, Will Jones, who chairs the steering group said, “It is to be hoped that the Government sticks to its plan to provide the industry with a notice period, which is one of the points about which BHETA has been lobbying. Both suppliers and retailers need to be able to adjust to the new requirements in a positive manner, and for that some advance notice is required. The fact we have an indication now of the likely timing again helps with planning and BHETA is actively exploring all the practical measures which the home enhancement industry can take to achieve a positive result.”
The British Home Enhancement Trade Association (BHETA), which represents many of the leading UK suppliers of housewares, home improvement and garden products created a consultative steering group comprising most of the top retailers and suppliers of bladed items, following lobbying initiatives in 2018. Participants in the BHETA campaign include John Lewis, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Dunelm, Steamer Trading, T K Maxx, Elys of Wimbledon, Harts of Stur, Taylor’s Eye Witness, Amefa, Fiskars, Meyer, Haus, Burton McCall, Kuhn Rikon, Rayware and Robert Welch. BHETA has also been working with the Metropolitan Police on the project since summer 2019.
For more information about BHETA, BHETA lobbying and the BHETA responsible knife retailing campaign, contact Nicola Adams, BHETA Member Services Team Manager on 07946 078566, or alternatively, email on firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the BHETA website www.bheta.co.uk.