So what does that mean for the hospitality industry?
Well, it means that chefs who want to order knives won’t be able to get them sent to their houses. It could also ruin knife suppliers that do business online. Harriet Murland of Kin Knives says that around 70% of her sales are from online orders, so bringing in the bill would be damaging for her business. “Not all my customers work or would be allowed to receive personal shopping items delivered to their place of work,” she says. “I think the focus should be on the root cause of the crime itself, tackling social problems and gang related violence, not the availability of Japanese kitchen knives.”
Is the bill sensible?
The industry doesn’t seem to think so - a petition calling for this particular aspect of the policy proposal to be scrapped has garnered nearly 22,000 signatures, and is being backed by the likes of Wahaca founder Thomasina Miers and celebrity chef Mark Lloyd.
What’s wrong with it, besides the fact it could damage business?
Many online knife-selling businesses collect the details of the buyer, unlike bricks and mortar shops where knives are available over the counter and can be bought with no questions asked. Murland says that if there was ever a situation where one of here knives was used to commit crime, she would have valuable information for the police to track down the suspects. We also hear that knife makers have questioned the data that the police and the government are basing these policy changes on. There has apparently been no research into where knives that have been used in crimes or confiscated have been purchased from.
What do other knife sellers make of it?
Bespoke knife alter Savernake isn’t a fan of the proposed law, but says that it won’t affect them much because the rules will not apply to made-to-order knives.
So there’s a loophole...
Yes. Although what exactly constitutes a bespoke product is a grey area. Most knife suppliers offer engraving but it’s not yet clear whether this will allow them to circumnavigate the rules. Savernake allows chefs to specify handles and even the shape of the blade so would presumably tick the box.
Will it really be that much of an issue for chefs?
While it won’t be too much hassle for most chefs to get knives delivered to work instead of home, the rules will make things tricky for self-employed chefs. The new rules also have the potential to reduce the amount of choice chefs have when choosing knives.