Four shops have agreed to stop selling knives as Barking and Dagenham retailers sign up to a scheme to tackle violent crime among young people.

The London-wide Responsible Retailer Scheme is part of a commitment by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC), the Metropolitan Police and London Trading Standards to reduce and prevent knife-related crime.

Fourteen retailers in the borough that sell knives and bladed items have signed up to the agreement, which was launched by the council in partnership with Barking and Dagenham police.

Chadwell Handy Shop and the three B&M stores in the borough also agreed to stop selling knives.

The agreement aims to promote responsible sales and prevent people under 18 from acquiring them.

Ch Insp Chris Nixon from the east area neighbourhood policing team said: “The whole community need to come together to prevent knife crime affecting our young people.

“This programme is a positive step by the retail sector to limit availability of knives to young people and reducing knife crime in the borough.

“We will continue to work in partnership with the council, the retail sector, and the wider community to prevent knife crime.”

The Met is piloting new powers in a bid to curb knife violence, which could see children as young as 12 subject to curfews.

The council’s trading standards service is asking all businesses that sell knives and other bladed items to make sure they challenge anyone who looks under 25, ask for ID and check it carefully to ensure the customer is 18 or older.

Owners are also being asked to update their shop layout so knives are kept out of sight of young people.

Cllr Margaret Mullane, cabinet member for enforcement and community safety, said: “We know there is an issue with knife crime amongst young people, so it is extremely important that we all work together to tackle the issue, and this includes families, schools, shops and the wider community.”

The council says its trading standards service operates a zero-tolerance approach on underage sales of knives and have scheduled test purchase visits throughout the year.

Businesses caught selling knives or bladed items to underage children will be prosecuted.