Two under 18s were able to purchase a knife during a recent test operation carried out by police in North Hertfordshire.

Test purchases were carried out at stores in Hitchin, Letchworth, Baldock and Royston last week.

Student volunteers from North Herts College's Uniformed and Protective Services course assisted officers with the operation.

Two students, under the age of 18, attempted to buy a knife without identification during each test purchase.

They were able to purchase the knife during one of five test purchases, while they were refused a purchase on the other four occasions due to having no age confirming documents. Following the attempts, officers debriefed the stores about the test purchase outcomes.

In England, it is illegal for under 18s to purchase most knives.

Community Safety Unit Sergeant Chris Adshead said: “We saw an 80 percent pass rate from the test purchase operation, which was pleasing, however there is work to do for those who failed.


“The message is positive in that from previous test purchasing we have carried out, stores are really tightening up their procedures and it was great to see most had seen advice letters sent out reminding them about age checking any such sale and advising future test purchasing will be carried out.

“We’d also like to thank students from North Herts College who volunteered for the initiative and hope it gave them a real insight into aspects of policing."

The test purchases were carried out as part of Sceptre, a national knife crime initiative.

Sceptre aims to reinforce the message that carrying a knife is illegal and will not help to keep you safe.