The government has put reducing crime at heart of its domestic agenda, yet there has been a surge in retail violence, with 115 retail workers attacked every day. The new session of parliament and the resulting Private Members’ Bill ballot provides an opportunity to introduce stronger penalties for offenders attacking shop workers and would review the sentencing guidelines for assault.
The British Retail Consortium calls on MPs to protect shop workers and deter criminals by bringing forth these proposals. Crime is rising and retailers have been forced to spend over £1 billion on crime prevention in the past year alone. It is now in Parliament’s hands to make the urgent changes needed by legislating to protect retail workers through a Private Members' Bill.
Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said:
“Violence against shop workers is one of the biggest concerns for retailers, with a shocking 115 attacks every day. Despite record spending of nearly £1 billion on crime prevention, incidents are still on the rise. We call for a specific criminal offence to protect retail employees from attacks at work, as it has been done for emergency workers. It is unacceptable for anyone to go to work fearing threats and violence.”
David Hanson MP, Labour, said:
“Retail crime is a public policy crisis of epic proportions. Critical action is needed to protect our hard-working shop workers from violence in the workplace. I receive many shocking accounts from retail workers on an all-to-regular basis about daily attacks. Current measures in place are insufficient and new measures need to be introduced following recent government consultation."
Stephen Hammond MP, Independent, said:
“It is extremely concerning that the level of violence and intimidation against retail workers is rising. There is a clear need for tough new legislation to protect the UK’s 3 million retail workers. I fully endorse the BRC’s campaign to strengthen penalties for this type of crime.”
Paddy Lillis, General Secretary at Usdaw, said:
“The mounting evidence from retailers and Usdaw’s own survey of shop workers shows a disturbing increase in retail crime. This cannot be allowed to continue, action must be taken, we need legislation to tackle violence, threats and abuse against shop workers. Retail staff are an important part of our communities; their role must be valued, respected and protected.”