Calls for shops to make knives less visible as blade offences more than double in Wakefield

A Wakefield councillor has pleaded with retailers to make knives less visible in stores.

Councillor Betty Rhodes said she'd directly asked one store to change the way their knives were displayed.
Councillor Betty Rhodes said she'd directly asked one store to change the way their knives were displayed.

Betty Rhodes, whose Wakefield North ward envelopes the city centre, said she wants blades to be stored in a "secure place" to make it harder for people with "an ulterior motive" to buy them.

It follows the arrests of two people, including a 16 year-old boy, on suspicion of carrying knives in Wakefield, following separate incidents in September.

A report published this week said police had found one teenage suspect hiding in a garden just outside of the city centre after CCTV operators noticed a knife being pulled out during a fight.

These knives were all handed in during amnesties across the UK, and were later used to make up the Knife Angel sculpture, which is being used to discourage the use of blades.

And speaking at a full council meeting on Wednesday, Coun Rhodes called on shops to help tackle the problem.

She said: "I beg and plead for any initiative that can be put forward about the large stores which have knives on display, which can be picked up by any youth or adult, some of whom may have an ulterior motive in mind.

"I went into one shop and actually asked them to change the position of the knives so that they were behind the counter. It's something I think all stores should be aware of."

Local police are now probing an average of almost five incidents a week.

The council has received a grant of more than £500,000 to educate children about the dangers of carrying knives.

Coun Rhodes stressed she was "in no way blaming" retailers for an increase in knives on the streets, but called on them to help by placing them out of sight.

She added: "Some people might say you don't have to go into the store to get a knife and that's true.

"But what we ought to be doing is making it less easy for them to pick something up in these stores.

"Please, please I plead, get these knives in a secure place and make it less easy (to buy them), and co-operate with those of us whose care about our communities."

Local Democracy Reporting Service