Choose your future, which launches next month, aims to unite Croydon against serious youth violence and to support and celebrate the positive choices young people can, and do make.
The appeal comes after council leader Tony Newman sent a letter to the trading director of Poundland earlier this week, when knives were displayed in the shop window and were easily accessible to the public.
The display led to numerous complaints and criticism from the community on social media and a visit to the store by Croydon Central MP Sarah Jones, who recently held the first parliamentary knife crime group meeting.
The council has launched its Responsible Retailers Agreement for the sale of knives, asking retailers to show their commitment to keeping the community safe by volunteering to follow a number of conditions that include:
Councillor Hamida Ali, cabinet member for communities, safety and justice, said: “Supporting young people to choose not to carry knives will be a major part of our new campaign. By choosing to be responsible retailers, Croydon businesses are making a vital stand against knife crime.
“I hope more retailers both in the town centre and across Croydon, support our campaign to help combat the knife crime we’ve recently seen in the borough.”
The council is meeting with all 200 known knife retailers in Croydon. So far 160 have been visited by the Trading Standards team and all but a few have pledged their support for the agreement.
Croydon borough commander, Jeff Boothe, said: “This is a good example of the council and police working in partnership with the community to help combat knife crime.”
Chief executive of Croydon town centre Business Improvement District, Matthew Sims, said: “We certainly support this business community pro-active approach in tackling some of the issues related to knife crime. We can achieve far more by working together, ensuring Croydon remains a safe and welcome borough to work, live and visit.”
The agreement is credited as an example of good practice in encouraging responsible retailing in the Mayor of London’s Knife Crime Strategy.