Gwynne appalled by a shocking 40% increase in violence and abuse against shopworkers

unknownDenton and Reddish MP, Andrew Gwynne, has joined calls for greater government action to tackle the scourge of violence against shop workers which again saw a massive rise in 2016.

Data collected by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) shows that the human cost of retail crime is growing, with a 40% increase in offences involving abuse or violence against shop workers; rising from 41 to 51 per 1,000. (1)

Feedback from shop workers on the ground revealed that violent attacks by shoplifters towards staff who stopped them before exiting the store was one of the biggest causes of violence. Added to this staff reported that they would be threatened with weapons and spat at by customers who were correctly questioned when being sold age-restricted products.

Results from Usdaw’s annual survey of shop workers show that half of shop workers were verbally abused in the last year and 29% were threatened with violence. 8% have been assaulted, but worryingly a third of them did not report to their employer a violent attack by a customer. (2)

Andrew Gwynne said:

“Many UK workers are on the frontline of dealing with the public and that can mean they end up on the wrong side of a verbal or physical assault.

“Labour in Government rightly acted to protect emergency service workers, but I think the time has come to extend that protection to all public-facing employees like shop workers, bus drivers, rail staff, doctors, nurses, and postal workers.

“Retail crime remains too high and there needs to be action to protect shop workers. It is time for the Government to act by providing stiffer penalties for those who assault shop workers.

“Retail staff have a crucial role in our communities and that role must be valued and respected.”

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