Retail trade union Usdaw is urging MPs to support growing calls for legislation to give shopworkers more protection from violence and abuse.
It comes after bosses at 100 retailers including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Morrisons wrote to Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging him to support the amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
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.”
“Despite overwhelming evidence, the government has continued to refuse to support a specific law to protect workers, which is backed by many retailers and the cross-party Home Affairs Select Committee,” Usdaw general secretary Paddy Lillis said.
“Usdaw is looking for a simple stand-alone offence that is easily understood, not just by the legal profession, but by the criminals who are assaulting, threatening and terrifying shopworkers.
“A separate offence for assaulting a retail worker would encourage prosecutions and provide the deterrent effect that our members are desperately looking for.
“When retail employers, leading retail bodies and the shopworkers’ trade union jointly call for legislation, it is time for the government and MPs to listen.”
The news follows research commissioned by the British Retail Consortium 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 figures, 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 announced its 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.
with PA Wires