The House of Lords has passed the Government’s amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. This means that those who commit violent offences against retail staff are one step closer to receiving tougher sentences for their crimes. The amendment stipulates that the courts must treat assaults committed “against a person providing a public service, performing a public duty or providing services to the public” can be treated as an aggravating factor.
The BRC and its members have been campaigning to raise awareness of this issue for some time and have worked with parliamentarians to shape legislation that would offer better protection in law for retail workers.
Our most recent crime survey shows that 455 retail workers are abused or attacked every day at work, and this number has only risen over the past 20 months since staff have had to implement Covid safety measures. The survey also showed that only 40% of retailers rated the police response to reported incidents as ‘good’ or ‘fair’, leading to many incidents not being reported to the police at all. This amendment is a step in the right direction to making retail workers feel better protected and would-be offenders deterred.
In response, Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said:
“We welcome the Government’s move to ensure that those who commit violent offences against retail workers receive tougher sentences for their crimes. The Government has demonstrated that it understands the scale of violence and abuse that our colleagues face, and that it will act to protect them. Crime against retail staff has been rising year on year, and nobody should go to work fearing their safety. The BRC will continue to campaign on behalf of the three million retail colleagues who work tirelessly to ensure we all have access to the food and goods we need.”