Met chief Cressida Dick tells of 'real concern' over online sales of hidden blades
17 September 2019, 09:44 | Updated: 17 September 2019, 12:29
Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick told of her “real concern” today after being handed illegal concealed knives on air by LBC presenter Nick Ferrari.
Ms Dick was given two weapons - a six-inch blade hidden inside a comb and a claw knife disguised as lipstick.
Looking at the blades, Dame Cressida said her officers are trained to spot these devices.
She said: "This sort of phenomenon is not new. If I took you to our collection at the Yard, I could show you things from the 19th century which are very similar to these. We've got a comb which is exactly that.
"Our officers are constantly trained not to assume that a comb like that is a comb and to be very careful as it might be a 'concealed stiletto' as it used to be called.
"However, such things arriving by post or by an online sale is new and of real concern. "There is a responsibility on the companies I'm sure you will have spoken to them. I'm not suggesting it's easy for them to stop these items, but they have a responsibility to make a concerted effort."
One of the knives bought by LBC looks like a pink plastic comb until you pull the top off to reveal a six inch knife. The sales description says, 'Self defence can be totally adorable'.
Another, looks like a lipstick until you take the lid off to reveal a claw knife. The lipstick knife costs £11 and the comb knife £12.
The two items were shipped from North Carolina through customs via Royal Mail to an address in London.
There was no age or security checks when they were ordered or delivered. Facebook, who own Instagram, told us: "We recently changed our policies to restrict all sales of knives on Instagram to people aged 18 and above.
"We have well-established relationships with law enforcement and we work closely with them to improve our detection and removal of illegal material."
Royal Mail delivered the knives and told us: "Where Royal Mail has any suspicion that illegal weapons are being sent through our network, we work closely with the police and Border Force to prevent such activities from happening."
A Home Office spokesperson said: "Social media companies must not allow their platforms to be used to sell illegal weapons, and our Online Harms White Paper sets out plans to make it easier to hold these companies to account."