A US-based company selling knife subscription boxes is no longer shipping knives to the UK, following a VICE World News investigation showing how easy it was to obtain the weapons, some of which are illegal in Britain without ID.
Since our story was published last month, Knife-A-Month has removed delivery options for customers outside the US, which means it is also no longer shipping to Canada or Australia.
The move is significant, as under existing British legislation, while UK-based companies have to confirm a customer is over 18 before selling a package containing a knife of any kind, companies outside of the UK are under no such obligation.
VICE World News was able to receive a subscription box last year without providing any proof of age, the parcel containing the knives was left outside the delivery address for six hours and did not require a signature, and all three knives were illegal to carry in public in the UK “without good reason”. One of the three knives - all of which we later deposited into a knife drop bin – was a “credit card knife” that police have previously sounded warnings about.
Knife-A-Month, which advertises on Instagram where it has more than 160,000 followers, did not respond when asked why it had stopped shipping outside of the US.
But anti-knife campaigners welcomed the move, and said the reporting had led to the change in policy.
“While I’m very pleased with this change, much more needs to be done to stop dangerous knives being bought and placed into the wrong hands,” said Sarah Jones MP, Shadow Minister for Policing and the Fire Service and founder of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Knife Crime.
“The government should go much further to reduce the opportunities for young people to get hold of knives online and must pay more attention to the root causes of knife crime, and the interventions needed to fix it."
Lucie Russell, CEO of anti-knife crime charity StreetDoctors, said it was “incredibly welcome news” that Knife-A-Month was no longer selling boxes of knives to customers in the UK.
“Reducing knife availability, especially when such aggressive targeting is going with it, is vital, as is tackling the myriad of causes that lead to knife carrying,” she said.
Patrick Green, CEO of the Ben Kinsella Trust, a charity that works to tackle knife crime through education and campaigning, added: “This shows how effective campaigning can influence retailers to put the public good ahead of profit. As I said in the original piece, these knives serve no useful purpose in our society, and the US retailer's decision to refuse to sell them in the UK is great news.
“I now hope that other retailers will see the wisdom of this decision and follow suit. It might be a small step, but it is another step in the right direction to stop these knives from ending up on our streets.”