The British Retail Consortium (BRC) and its members welcome the government’s introduction of a standalone offence for assaulting a retail worker. For over five years the BRC, along with retailers, other trade associations and unions, have campaigned for a standalone offence for a retail worker, to create transparency about the scale of the issue and to help police to allocate resources to deal with it.

Responding to the announcement, Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said:

After relentless campaigning for a specific offence for assaulting retail workers, the voices of the three million people working in retail have finally been heard.
The impact of retail violence has steadily worsened, with people facing racial abuse, sexual harassment, threatening behaviour, physical assault and threats with weapons, often linked to organised crime. The BRC 2024 Annual Crime Survey showed record levels of violence and abuse, with incidents soaring to over 1,300 per day last year, compared to 870 the year before.
Victims are ordinary hardworking people - teenagers taking on their first job, carers looking for part-time work, parents working around childcare.
This announcement sends a clear message that this abusive behaviour will not be tolerated. It will improve the police response, which has historically been poor, as police will now have the necessary data to understand the scale of the problem and allocate sufficient resource to address this issue.
Retailers are playing their part, spending over £1bn last year on crime prevention measures. Government has taken action, and it is vital that the police use this new legislation to step up their response to incidents. Together, we must stamp out this scourge in crime that has been sweeping the nation and ensure retail workers are given the vital protections they deserve.