// 68% of retailers that could not stop the purchases were independent stores
New research has found that independent retailers have failed to stop under-18 year olds from purchasing knives.
As shopkeepers fear challenging people, 68 per cent of retailers that could not stop the purchases were independent stores, according to research from National Trading Standards (NTS).
This was an increased proportion from 51 per cent in the previous year.
Meanwhile, the British Independent Retailers Association chief executive Andrew Goodacre said he was disappointed, but independent retailers may feel more nervous to challenge people because they do not have as much support as national retailers.
NTS chairman Lord Toby Harris said independent retailers need to make practical changes to deal with the problem.
He said it is illegal to sell knives to under-aged consumers and it can have fatal consequences.
“I think there’s no doubt that a large store has more resources, whether it’s CCTV or security guards wandering around,” he said.
“There’s more support for the staff or owners who have to challenge customers.
“Whether it’s a knife or alcohol, there has been a rise in verbal and physical abuse that staff are facing and that might make them less likely to challenge someone on their age.”
The number of retailers which failed to stop children buying knives fell slightly from 15 per cent to 13 per cent.
The research was based on 1614 test purchases.