Law to reduce knife crime could harm Sheffield cutlery industry

For JUS News
A proposed bill to prohibit the sale of knives could lead to Sheffield cutlery manufacturers and retailers losing business.

Amid problems with growing knife crime rates, the Offensive Weapons Bill would make it a criminal offense to deliver knives and bladed objects to residential properties, with the exception of bespoke bladed objects used for sporting or re-enactment purposes.

The Bill also looks to impose age verification procedures when selling bladed objects.

Sheffield is seen as the biggest cutlery manufacturing city in the UK, and the new legislation could seriously hamper the business of many of these firms.

John Adams owns J. Adams Cutlery, a family business spanning five generations, and is worried about the impact this may have on his business.

He said: “Knives are made for a purpose, to do a job, not for attacking people. 99.9% of people who buy our knives buy them for industrial reasons or they are collectors. This new rule would not stop crime but it could stop our business.”

He added: “We already do all we can to verify our customers’ name and age, but this law could really run our trade to the ground and we would have to lay off some of our experienced workers.”

Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield has secured a meeting between Sheffield steel manufacturers and a Home Office minister in the coming days.

Mr Blomfield said: “We have a serious problem with knife crime. We need serious solutions, but we need the right solutions.

“Large retailers might well be able to deal with age-verified collection easily and with little impact on cost, but smaller manufacturers which use the internet to reach niche markets will struggle.”

Earlier this year, South Yorkshire Police launched the ‘Sheffield City Knife Crime Strategy’ to combat the rising problem in the city.

MP Paul Blomfield thinks the legislation is the incorrect way to approach the situation and believes the provision has loopholes.

Speaking in Parliament last week, he said: “Under the provisions, a sword could be delivered to a residential property, but one of my local manufacturers’ steak knives could not.”

Blomfield wrote to Home Secretary Sajid Javid to outline that manufacturers in Sheffield make knives that are used for a huge range of legitimate and necessary purposes, including kitchen knives for chefs and cable stripping knives for electricians.

The combined effort of Paul Blomfield and leaders of the manufacturers has delayed the Bill, and they are aiming to alter the wording of the statute, but the issue remains uncertain.

Angela Smith among seven Labour MPs to resign

For JUS News 

Angela Smith, MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge, is one of seven Labour politicians to resign from the party this morning.

The group of MPs stood down in a protest over “the future of British politics” in order to form the “Independent Group” amid their party’s handling over Brexit, National Security and Anti-Semitism.

Ms Smith, who has been in office since 2010, said in a statement: “I don’t want to be patronised by left wing intellectuals who think being poor and working class constitutes a state of grace.”

Speaking later to BBC Politics Live, she said: “We feel that morally and politically to break free of a party that no longer represents what we stand for.

“The culture of the Labour Party is vicious, it is bullying, it is unpleasant.”

She added: “Not only has Jeremy Corbyn got hold of the machinery to the party, he has changed the locks, we no longer have the keys.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he is “disappointed” with their decision. He said: “I am disappointed that these MPs have felt unable to continue.”

Ms Smith has represented the seat since 2010, and was MP for Sheffield Hillsborough from 2005 to 2010. In November 2018, her Constituency Labour Party passed a motion of no confidence in her grounds of her lack of support for the party leadership.

She said in the statement: “Our politics, in other words, is broken, incapable of inspiring confidence in the future.”

She added: “The level of alienation from the political process on the part of the people is at a record high, with the chaos and conflict characterising Brexit encapsulating perfectly the sense of deadlock and hopelessness which pervades our political culture.”

Liverpool Wavertree MP Luciana Berger, who also resigned, led the group  in making a statement.

She said: “This morning, we have all now resigned from the Labour Party. This has been a very difficult, painful, but necessary decision.

“From today, we will all sit in Parliament as a new independent group of MPs. From my part, I have become embarrassed and ashamed to remain in the Labour Party.”

More to follow…

Sheffield skater Peter Hallam is favourite in British Figure Skating Championships

For JUS News 

Sheffield is hosting the British Figure Skating Championships for the ninth year in a row this week, and Sheffield-born Peter Hallam is the favourite for the men’s event.

The event is taking place at Ice Sheffield and stretches over the course of the week, with Friday and Saturday being pivotal to the deciding of the Championship.

Peter Hallam has finished as runner-up in the competition for the past three years, twice being tipped to the gold by Phillip Harris, who is absent from this years event.

Hallam will be hoping to go one better this year, as he looks to write his name as a Sheffield sporting hero in the world of figure skating.

As for the women, the event has been won by Natasha McKay for the past two years, but Karly Robertson is looking to secure her second title. She is part of the Dundee squad that have taken a 10-strong cohort to the tournament.

Favourites for the pairs title are Zoe Jones and Chris Boyadji.

The sport was the first winter sport to be recognised as a winter Olympic event. It tests a skater’s control and balance and demands lots of practice, patience and time.

The winners will be presented with awards at 6.00pm on Saturday, with a ‘Best of British Gala’ to follow.

BBC Sport will be broadcasting live from Ice Sheffield on Friday and Saturday, and the arena is expected to attract a nearly full attendance.