Tony Batty has run his shop on Racecommon Road for 33 years, and so naturally has seen his fair share of blades, but he’s now making the shop a point for those with unwanted knives to drop them off anonymously.
Tony has signed up to the Barbers Against Blades ‘Fade the Blade’ campaign, which sees barbers become drop-off points as well as ad-hoc information services for people concerned about knife crime.
Tony’s shop now displays Barbers Against Blades branding, with customers able to make dedicated appointments where as well as a haircut, they can get confidential advice.
The knives are then handed over to police, or visiting PCSOs, to be destroyed.
“It makes those people who come in feel safer,” said Tony, 53, who has already had four knives dropped off at the shop.
“The number of knife attacks you hear about recently is unbelievable, so I want to do all I can to help.
“People can get in touch with me, and I’ll listen to them and talk to them about it. I don’t ask names, it’s all anonymous.
“The more people we can reach and spread the word, the better. It’s not just a short-term thing.”
The thinking behind the campaign, says its founder David White, is that barber shops are traditionally a safe and welcoming environment where barbers can get to know their clients personally.
“It’s gained momentum, and barbers such as Tony are doing a tremendous job,” he said.
“We want to make people like him ambassadors and get them to suggest ideas, and we can give them the funding.”