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Shop owners demand new offence for attacks on retail workers

Posted on in Business News , Cycles News

Shop owners have called on the Home Secretary to specifically outlaw attacks on retail workers.

Police

Business leaders from across the retail sector have said the Government should create a new offence of assaulting, threatening or abusing a retail worker.

Close to 90 bosses, from Aldi UK chief executive Giles Hurley to Charmaine Griffiths, who heads the British Heart Foundation, have written to Suella Braverman saying such actions should be charged as an aggravated offence.

This would bring English and Welsh law in line with the 2021 Protection of Workers Act passed in Scotland.

“This standalone offence would send an important signal that our colleagues will receive better protection in law and act as a deterrent to would-be offenders. This action should be taken without delay,” the letter said.

British Retail Consortium chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “It is vital that action is taken before the scourge of retail crime gets any worse.

“We are seeing organised gangs threatening staff with weapons and emptying stores. We are seeing violence against colleagues who are doing their job and asking for age verification.

“We are seeing a torrent of abuse aimed at hardworking shop staff. It’s simply unacceptable – no one should have to go to work fearing for their safety.

“It’s time the Government put their words into action. We need to see a standalone offence for assaulting or abusing a retail worker, as exists in Scotland.

“We need Government to stand with the millions of retail workers who kept us safe and fed during the pandemic – and support them, as those workers supported us.”

A survey from the BRC found that incidents of violence and abuse towards retail workers nearly doubled in the 2021-22 financial year compared with before the pandemic. Around £953 million was estimated to have been stolen from retailers.

Yvette Cooper, Labour’s shadow home secretary, said: “Our high streets and shopworkers are being let down by a Conservative government that has repeatedly refused to act to keep our streets safe or protect shop workers from appalling abuse and violence, and has cut 10,000 police and PCSOs from town centres and neighbourhoods.

“Labour is calling for stronger action against abuse of shop workers including on sentencing, and we will restore neighbourhood policing and town centre patrols with 13,000 more officers and PCSOs.”

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