Can You Help Us?
Posted on Friday, September 28th, 2018
In an attempt to combat knife crime and the terrible impact it can have on families, Home Secretary, Amber Rudd announced last year that she would be taking consultation on possible new legislation that restricts online sales of knives and the ownership of certain types of knives.
So far, the new law has not yet become an Act of Parliament, but one area of the “Serious Violence Strategy” policy paper released in April 2018, is of real concern.
This relates to the delivery of knives sold online, which the new legislation aims to ban should it become law.
Whilst Flint & Flame is very much in agreement that knife crime is something that needs tackling head on, the proposed change would prove extremely restrictive for you, our customers.
What’s more, it’ll be extremely damaging to our business and after all that, we simply don’t see how it will have a positive impact on the problem at hand.
Proposed new law…
As it stands, the new legislation is aiming to make it illegal to sell knives online and have them delivered to a residential address.
Instead, your purchases would need to be delivered to a collection point where you would have to turn up in person, and prove your age and identity before being handed your package.
It’s easy to see how this would help stop under age individuals from purchasing knives online (and we’re right behind the idea of lowering knife crime), but sadly it also seems that the new law would target entirely the wrong type of business.
Online vs High Street
For a business such as our own, that sells online and at shows, there are already a number of layers of age verification and security built in to our sales systems:
- Age verification – Our website requires anyone buying online to verify that they are over 18 at the time of purchase.
- Payment methods – The payment methods we offer online require the account holder to be 18 in the first place (credit card or PayPal).
- Full purchaser details – We hold full customer details for each and every knife sold.
- Trained sales staff – All our staff are trained to ask for age verification when selling at shows and events.
This shows that we’ve been working hard to minimise the risk of underage knife sales long before this new legislation was conceived.
But let’s us now compare our procedures and processes to that of a High Street retailer that, under the new law, wouldn’t be subject to the delivery restrictions.
Firstly, it’s totally down to the sales staff to do their job correctly and not sell to an under age person. If any one person lapses with their age verification, the knives could get into the wrong hands.
And, with lots of younger, part time and seasonal staff involved in retail it seems all too easy for this to happen.
Secondly, if that does happen, there’s no way to trace the purchaser as their details would have been taken or retained at the point of sale..
Finally, if the person pays with cash there’s not even the payment card to fall back on for purchaser details.
The sale is totally anonymous.
Despite feedback and calls for further discussion from the knife industry, the government continues to press ahead with making the new legislation law as it stands.
That means it’s very likely things will have to change for Flint & Flame and you, our Gold Members, going forward.
What are we doing?
Lots of you come to visit us at the hundreds of shows and events that we attend each year.
We certainly won’t stop attending those, so that does provide you with one easy way to buy knives and knife sets from us going forward.
However, buying online will be the problem.
We are currently in discussion with a number of couriers about how we can handle the age verification process, whilst utilising a large network of collection points.
Sadly, this will inevitably mean increases in our delivery charges and it will also mean that for some of you, there may not be a collection point close to where you live.
We will continue to work hard to make sure we are able to offer you the best delivery/collection service we can.
You can still help…
All is not yet lost, and the new legislation is not yet law.
So if you want to help us, help you, you still can by writing to your local MP and also by signing a current petition that is asking for the removal of the online sales ban section of the new law.
This website helps you find out who your local MP is and how to contact them to let them know your views.
Here is the petition against the online sales ban. It currently has nearly 23,000 signatures. Please take just a few minutes to help if you can.
Whatever happens, we’ll continue to design, create and sell our beautiful chef knives to cooking enthusiasts and food lovers the world over.
However, what remains to be seen is just how we’re able to go about doing that long term for those of you that buy from us online.