Online retailers will no longer be able to deliver knives bought via the internet to people’s homes under proposals aimed at preventing tragedies like the stabbing of Scottish school pupil Bailey Gwynne.
Buyers would instead have to collect knives from a nearby shop, where they could be asked for ID to stop teenagers from bypassing laws banning them from purchasing deadly weapons.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said new measures would help “break the deadly cycle” of violence by making it harder for young people to get hold of knives.
Ms Rudd said: “At the moment you have to do it by the click of a button. What we are proposing is that if you want to buy a knife online it has to be collected from a place where you have to show your ID.
“We have evidence that young people have been able to buy knives without verifying their ID and I want to stop that.”
Proposals to be put out for consultation would initially apply to England and Wales, but the Scottish Government said it was in talks with UK ministers on the issue and was seeking UK-wide action.
It is illegal for under-18s to buy anything bigger than a pocket knife across the UK, but investigations have shown that age checks by online retailers can be circumvented.
Cults Academy pupil Bailey, 16, was killed in 2015 when another 16-year-old boy produced a knife during a fight in a school corridor.
The boy, who cannot be named due to legal restrictions, bought the knife on Amazon and left a note asking for it to be delivered to a garden shed. He told police he bought the knife online “because they don’t check if you’re 18 or not”.
The boy denied a charge of murder and was convicted of the lesser charge of culpable homicide, receiving a nine year custodial sentence.
Scottish Justice Secretary Michael Matheson wrote to Ms Rudd in January calling for a UK-wide clampdown on the availability of knives.
Ross Thomson, the MP for Aberdeen South which includes the village of Cults, said both governments should work together to ensure tougher restrictions are imposed across the country.
“It’s far too easy for knives to get into the hands of young people, and the Scottish Government should be following up on what the Home Secretary has announced,” he said.