Sunday, July 20, 2008

A long-overdue message

With the news of still more knife-related attacks and deaths over the last couple of days, an email I have received from a constituent seemed both chilling and relevant. Why, he asked, at a time of almost daily murders and assaults involving knives, when visiting a local boot fair was he presented with an alarming choice of hunting and sheath knives on sale to the public?

Of course, he had a point. I contacted Kent Trading Standards and spoke also to my Cabinet colleagues about this, suggesting that it would be setting a strong lead if KCC were to ban the sale of knives at boot fairs on any land or property owned by the County Council. My Cabinet colleagues agreed, but then we discussed the mater further.

Ban the sale of any knives? But where does this stop? Does this mean you couldn't buy a penknife? A set of steak knives? Would you contravene the law if you attempted to sell a canteen of cutlery?

Clearly the issue is a little more complex than could be solved by a simple dictat. But I won't let this drop. This week I'll speak again to our Trading Standards officers and come up with a way to prevent the casual sale of dangerous knives at boot fairs on KCC land. Who knows - maybe other councils - even other boot fair organisers - will follow suit and we can begin to send a long-overdue message.

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