The prosecution fund to help councils tackle illegal knife sales needs urgent investment, town hall chiefs have warned.
The Local Government Association (LGA) said that the dedicated Home Office Prosecutions Fund does not provide enough help to council trading standards teams to enforce breaches of knife law sales.
It said that most of the funding allocated for 2019/20 will be used to prosecute those businesses already caught making illegal knife sales. This means only six councils will have enough funding to support in.store test purchases, with no funding left for online enforcement.
Councils also warn their trading standards teams do not have the necessary resources to enforce the requirements of the new Offensive Weapons Bill.
Cllr Simon Blackburn, chair of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: ‘The Prosecutions Fund announced in the Serious Violence Strategy has helped some councils prosecute retailers for blatant breaches of knife sale laws.
’However, given the knife crime epidemic, the significant cuts to trading standards budgets and the extra enforcement activity that will be needed when the Offensive Weapons Bill becomes law, this Fund needs urgent further investment and extending to many more councils to tackle illegal knife sales and protect people from harm.’
Figures show that six in 10 retailers are selling knives to children in some areas.