Violence Reduction Alliance

Responsible Retailer Scheme

Staffordshire Police and Trading Standards teams, on behalf of the VRA, have developed a Responsible Retailer Scheme and are asking retailers to consider how they store and display knives, as well as who they sell them to.

To support retailers Staffordshire Police and Trading Standards have produced a Responsible Retailer Pack which contains best practice advice, a summary of relevant legislation and promotional materials. 

The majority of knives purchased from retailers are not used in crime; however, some may be purchased with this in mind. Therefore, we are asking retailers to assess, challenge and check before a sale takes place as they have the right to refuse a sale if they have concerns about how the knife may be used.

Knives can only legally be sold to over 18’s, the Retailers Guide below details the best way retailers can avoid underage sales through staff training, keeping records of sale refusals and how to display knives safely so they can’t be accessed without the help of retail staff. The VRA are asking retailers to support the Challenge 25 process and ensure robust systems are in place. 

Businesses can play a major part in helping to protect the communities of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

The VRA is inviting all retailers across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent to download and sign the agreement below to show they are ready to take proactive steps to help prevent illegal sales of knives. Please download the agreement and return the signed form to

  • It is now illegal to possess certain weapons in private places, including your home. This includes items such as knuckledusters, flick knives and telescopic truncheons. 
  • This Act also introduced changes to the process of buying knives online with enhanced age verification checks at point of sale and collection/delivery.
  • Please store and dispose of knives safely to reduce the risk of them being used as weapons. 
  • Help prevent knife crime by reporting any concerns, including about how they are sold, to the Police or anonymously to Crimestoppers. 
  • You must have a system in place to check the purchaser is 18+. The buyer confirming their age – by ticking a box, for example – is NOT enough. 
  • Packages must be labelled to show they contain a bladed article and can only be delivered to a person 18+. 
  • You must take all reasonable precautions to ensure that whoever delivers the item knows to use the ASSESS-CHALLENGE-CHECK process. 
  • Bladed articles must never be delivered to a lock.

The National Police Chief Council (NPCC) has produced posters around the Offensive Weapons Act 2019 which can be downloaded here. These posters can be displayed around stores to help raise awareness of the legislation to staff and customers. The National Business Crime Centre (NBCC) has also produced online training modules for retailers on the storage, display, sale and delivery of knives. Access the training modules here


If you are a retailer that sells knives please find the Retailers Guide below which contains best practice advice and a summary of relevant legislation on storing, displaying and selling knives. Local posters have also been developed which can be printed and displayed around the store to help raise awareness amongst staff and customers.

Help and Support available to you

Visit our Support page for further information and advice on where to go for support.


We are taking a partnership and inclusion approach to bringing about positive changes in communities throughout Staffordshire & Stoke-on-Trent. These projects are created or selected based on understanding and needs of local communities, brought by those who are living and working within them.

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