Government rejects calls for a new offence for attacking shopworkers – despite increase in violence during pandemic

    Abuse against staff is up 7% at 455 incidents a day

      • Sector News
    • 06.07.21

    Retailers have expressed their disappointment after MPs voted down the introduction of a new clause in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which would have made attacking a retail worker a separate formal offence.

    Recently, over 100 of the UK’s leading retailers wrote to the Prime Minister calling for an amendment to the Bill in a bid to tackle escalating violence and abuse against retail workers.

    A petition launched by Usdaw calling for new legislation to be implemented was also signed by 100,000 people.

    Jo Whitfield, chief executive of Co-op Food, tweeted:

    Extremely disappointed that the House of Commons voted against protecting our shop workers this evening. The fight continues to the next stage and we will not give up. Thanks to those MPs in our corner.

    The decision follows the publication of the British Retail Consortium’s annual retail crime survey which found that:

    • Violence and abuse against staff are up 7% at 455 incidents a day, from 424 last year
    • Violence and abuse against staff continue to lead the way as the single most important issue for retailers with nearly nine in ten placing it in the top three issues
    • This was followed by customer theft nominated by eight in ten as a top three issue
    • Only 6% (6 in 100) of incidents of violence and abuse ended in prosecution and only 3% were dealt with as aggravated
    • The overall cost of crime now stands at £2.5 billion, up from £2.2 billion last year

    BRC: BRC Crime Survey 2021
    Retail Gazette: Tesco calls for legislation to protect staff from “abuse, threats and violence”
    Retail Gazette: 100 UK retailers demand new laws against retail violence
    Retail Gazette: 2/3 shopworkers who report incidents say no help was provided
    Retail Gazette: MPs to debate petition to protect shopworkers from violence
    Talking Retail: Retailers urge MPs to deliver tougher penalties for attacks on shopworkers in policing bill
    Talking Retail: Government votes down new offence for attacking shopworkers
    Talking Retail: MPs call for new protection of shopworkers law
    Talking Retail: Usdaw wins cross-party support for change in law to protect shopworkers
    Talking Retail: ACS urges ministers to introduce new offence for assaulting shopworkers

    Maybo perspective

    No one should go to work fearing for their safety, yet many retail workers have come to see it as part of the job.

    Many retail workers experienced increased hostility through the BREXIT Referendum and further again with COVID restrictions and frustrations.

    Our latest eLearning programme ‘Reducing Conflict and Violence Risks’ covers the most common retail conflict scenarios, including handling frustrations over restrictions and conflict between customers. To find out more click here.

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