Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping has backed calls to increase protection for shop workers through new legislation.
Shop workers’ trade union Usdaw is urging MPs to vote for an amendment to the Offensive Weapons Bill making it a criminal offence to obstruct a shop worker enforcing the law on the sale of offensive weapons.
Nottingham North MP Alex Morris presented a 10-minute rule motion, Retail Workers (Offences) Bill, in parliament this week in which he made the case for the new offence.
It comes after Usdaw’s research showed there were 265 assaults on shop workers every day last year – a 25% rise on the previous 12 months.
The trade union said two-thirds of the shop workers who took part in its recent survey were verbally abused last year while 42% were threatened – representing rises of 25% and 38% respectively.
The Bill is due to be debated on Monday (15th October).
Mr Tipping said: “Violence, abuse or threats are never acceptable, especially against those who serve the public. Unfortunately, attacks and verbal abuse are all too common experiences on our high street and in our convenience stores.
“Our shop workers have a right to feel safe while at work – whatever the situation - and deserve the full protection of the law.
“The growing tide of violence on our streets must be prevented but we have a duty to protect the shop workers who uphold the laws that help protect our communities by refusing to sell alcohol, knives and acid to under-18s.
“New legislation would increase the jail terms of those who attack shop workers in the course of their duty and this would serve as a serious deterrent to potential offenders.”
Paddy Lillis, Usdaw General Secretary, said: “Abuse, threats and violence against shopworkers is a growing problem and a day-to-day reality for far too many workers employed in shops, supermarkets and convenience stores across the UK. We are grateful to Alex Norris MP for raising the issues our members face on a daily basis.
“What is clear, from talking to, consulting with and surveying our members is that abuse and violence against shopworkers is on the rise. Usdaw’s annual survey of shopworkers shows a 25 per cent increase in violence. The British Retail Consortium reported a doubling of violence in their annual retail Crime Survey.”
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Posted on Thursday 11th October 2018