The UK’s leading retailers have written to the Prime Minister to tackle escalating violence and abuse against retail workers.
Aldi, Asda and Sainsbury’s are amongst the 100 retailers calling on the government to support an amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
The retailers which have shown their support by signing the letter include Big 4 grocers, Tesco and Morrisons, alongside the Co-op Group, Waitrose, Marks and Spencer, Lidl, and Iceland.
Other retailers include Amazon, Asos, Boots UK, Greggs, Cath Kidston, Central England Co-operative, Company Shop, Costa Coffee, DFS Furniture, Dixons Carphone, Dr Martens and John Lewis.
A range of convenience stores, such as One O One Convenience stores, Nisa and McColl’s Retail Group have also shown their support, alongside trade organisations, such as The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), Bira and the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
The letter comes just after a Home Affairs Select Committee report last week, which concluded that a new criminal offence is needed to protect retail workers from a “shocking upsurge in violence and abuse.”
The news comes as recent statistics revealed a seven per cent year-on-year increase in incidents of violence and abuse in 2019, which equals 455 cases each day.
According to the research, the rate of incidents has risen even further during the Covid-19 pandemic, as retailers have been working hard to ensure shops are safe and customers follow Covid-19 guidance.
As a result, the BRC said retailers have invested over £1.2 billion in the past year alone on crime prevention, which includes body-worn cameras, personal attack alarms and increased security personnel.
“Retailer workers are facing violence and abuse every day just for doing their jobs – keeping customers safe during the pandemic, checking ID, and confronting shoplifters.” BRC chief executive officer Helen Dickinson OBE said.
“Behind each of these statistics is a person, a family, colleagues and communities that have to cope with this trauma. No one should go to work fearing for their safety, yet many retail workers have come to see it as part of the job – this can’t go on.
“The time for action is now. We need to see the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill deliver better protection for our colleagues.”