Retail violence surges 25%

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Retail violence BRC Usdaw
42% of shopworkers have never seen a patrolling police officer inside their shops
// Violence against shopworkers has risen 25% in the past year
// Usdaw and BRC will urge politicians to carry out tough sentences on attackers

Violence against retail shop floor staff has increased by over 25 per cent in the last year, new research has found.

The findings by trade union Usdaw go against the BRC’s recent figures which revealed that retailers have spent over £1 billion on crime prevention.

Usdaw’s annual Respect for Shopworkers Week which takes place November 11-17, will see the union and the BRC urging politicians to implement tougher sentences for attackers.


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Usdaw also revealed that 42 per cent of shopworkers have never seen a patrolling police officer inside their shops.

Earlier this week, the BRC launched its retail manifesto to call on the next government to safeguard shopworkers by bringing forward legislation to protect them from increasing attacks in the workplace.

“Everyone deserves to go to work free from fear. The latest retail crime statistics are shocking,” BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said.

“This is not a victimless crime; those targeted with threats and abuse carry those experiences with them for a lifetime. It affects not just hardworking shopworkers, but also their families and communities,” she said.

“Politics is meant to be about helping people. We hope that every politician elected this December will support our call for stiffer penalties for those who abuse, or assault shop staff. Violence against shopworkers remains one of the most pressing issues retailers face and the next Government must take action to stamp it out.”

Usdaw general secretary Paddy Lillis said: “This disturbing increase in violence against shopworkers, alongside continued high levels of threats and abuse, demands urgent action from the next government.

“Our members working in retail feel exposed and on the frontline and we are extremely concerned that limited police resources mean that so many shopworker never see a police patrol,” he said.

“When the retail employers and the shopworkers’ trade union come together with one voice for greater legal protection for shopworkers; we hope the politicians are listening.

“This week our members are out campaigning on high streets, in shopping centres and stores; talking to the public and asking them to ‘keep their cool and respect shopworkers’. Retail staff have a crucial role in our communities and that role must be valued and respected, they deserve the protection of the law.”

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