Discount chain Poundland has issued a statement saying that it ‘welcomes Asda’s announcement that they’ll join us in banning the sale of kitchen knives’. However, the discount chain adds, ‘we think other big retailers could join us’.
On March 8 the supermarket multiple Asda announced it will remove single kitchen knives from sale in all its stores by the end of April.
Last September, Poundland said it would completely remove kitchen knives from all of its 755 stores by the end of October 2018 – and called on fellow retailers to follow its lead.
Poundland’s statement continued: “That’s why [Poundland retail director Austin Cooke] has written to the National Police Chiefs’ Council [on March 11] to ask for their help. Here at Poundland we know how much this issue means to colleagues and communities. Since the end of 2015 Poundland has transformed the way it retails craft and kitchen knives and added industry-leading safeguards.
“As an active participant with the Metropolitan Police’s review of knife crime, Poundland has: voluntarily adopted the responsible retailing agreement in selling knives; developed a policy on how it merchandises knives in stores in consultation with its lead police authority and the British Retail Consortium (BRC); introduced a strict requirement that kitchen knives should only be merchandised in its home aisles, under CCTV where it’s in place, and in sealed security plastic packaging; and up-weighted compulsory training for all colleagues that ensures all knife sales are subject to its ‘Challenge 25’ Policy at the point-of-sale, in line with all other age restricted products.
“Poundland believes discount retail has an important part to play in ensuring it satisfies honest and law-abiding customer demand for knives purchased from our kitchen, crafting and DIY ranges. What’s more, it has recently taken a decision to cease selling kitchen knives when current stocks have been depleted in the fourth quarter of 2018.
“Poundland has taken very seriously [the fact] that it has to put strong retailing processes in place to ensure it minimises the risks from a small minority who may want to use knives illegally. It commits, as a responsible retailer, to ensuring it plays a full part in taking responsible steps in preventing knife incidents.
“Because knife crime – especially in urban and metropolitan areas – has been a concern, Poundland understands why communities expect that if regular kitchen and craft knives are to be sold, then they should be sold safely.Poundland takes very seriously its role and responsibility in the retailing of any restricted products.
“We believe the sealed, secure plastic packaging we’ve introduced for all knives in our ranges is industry-leading – the result of extensive engagement with police partners, our lead local authority and extensive feedback from our store managers.
“While we understand suggestions to place products behind counters, this is very difficult in Poundland. Like many retailers, counters no longer exist, with a mix of self-scan and cashier-manned checkouts. Placing these products behind these locations reduces CCTV coverage and in many locations, puts product very close to the front door/exit of our premises. Indeed, a recent request from a TSO [trading standards officer] in south London to relocate knives to the counter area of one store resulted in those knives being displayed in the shop window.
“We will continue to work with community stakeholders, the police and customers in the safe retailing of kitchen and craft knives. We would encourage other retailers to follow our lead on the sealed plastic security packaging we now use.”