Amazon’s UK division is under fire from Scottish authorities following a trial where the underage perpetrator killed a classmate using a knife he purchased online.
“Scotland’s most senior police officer with responsibility for knife crime has condemned Amazon for its advertising following the conclusion of the trial of an Aberdeen schoolboy who killed a fellow pupil using a blade purchased via the online retailer.
Karen McCluskey, director of Police Scotland’s violence reduction unit, said: “The advertising on Amazon is cavalier. No knife is automatically ‘UK legal’,” referring to the way the online retailer describes knives with blades under the legal limit of three inches or 7.6cm.
“It depends who is carrying it and it depends on the context – if you’re taking a scalpel to a football match then that’s a problem,” McCluskey added.”
In the trial of a 16-year-old Aberdeen boy who stabbed and killed Bailey Gwynne, the court heard he had chosen the knife because “it said on Amazon ‘legal in the UK’ because the blade was under three inches”.
In fact the knife had a 3.25in (8.25cm) blade, making it illegal to carry in public, as well as illegal to sell to someone under the age of 18. It is unclear whether the website or the killer made the mistake as regards the knife being labelled “legal in the UK”.
In America, the civilian-disarmament industry has launched a multi-pronged attack including targeting gun manufacturers. Hoplophobes across the pond are also casting a broad net. They are pressuring retailers to treat hunting magazines like pornography and cigarettes, restricting display and purchase to those over 18, and it is only a matter of time before advertising finds itself in the crosshairs as well. This might be the opening shot.