BHETA urges the housewares industry to challenge Offensive Weapons Act draft

Ahead of the new Offensive Weapons Act, the British Home Enhancement Trade Association (BHETA) has entered the public consultations on the planned legislation – and is urging all suppliers and retailers of bladed items to do the same. The deadline for submissions is October 9.

BHETA’s challenge to the latest draft of the Act follows the most recent meeting of its consultative taskforce on responsible knife retailing, which was attended by representatives from kitchen knife retailers and suppliers including John Lewis & Partners, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Lakeland, Dunelm, TK Maxx, Elys of Wimbledon, Harts of Stur, Taylor’s Eye Witness, Amefa, Fiskars, Meyer, Haus, Burton McCall, Kuhn Rikon, Rayware and Robert Welch Designs.

BHETA said: ‘The meeting included a detailed study of the draft document, which revealed several changes from earlier versions, most of which were previously unknown to the suppliers and retailers at the meeting, as well as several discrepancies.

’Chief among the many queries arising was the revised definition of ‘bladed item’ in the context of the act. In the latest draft, products such as cutlery, scissors and garden secateurs are included in the widening parameters of this definition; something not previously the case.

‘The taskforce also raised the issue of contradictions between different parts of the document and imprecise meanings in critical aspects of the draft legislation. Specific examples include what constitutes a defence regarding the different terms covered in the new Act; the lack of clarity in the definition of a residential address, given the prevalence of home working; and the role of distribution companies in carrying out retailer or supplier compliance.’

BHETA marketing manager Steve Richardson commented: “Given how serious and complex the issue of knife crime is, it is worrying that the proposed legislation remains so contradictory and poorly defined. The responsible retailing of bladed items depends on the ability of all parties to collaborate effectively.

“BHETA convened its taskforce to help ensure that suppliers and retailers can work together effectively between themselves and jointly with other interested parties such as trading standards and the police. It is essential that the forthcoming legislation is both sensible and clear, so that this can be achieved.”

For more information about the BHETA responsible knife retailing campaign call 0121 237 1130 or visit www.bheta.co.uk.

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