// The Co-op records 76% rise in antisocial behaviour and verbal abuse during 2020 compared with 2019
// Retailers are now supporting a campaign for legislation to protect shopworkers against crime
Retailers are supporting a campaign for legislation to protect shopworkers against crime after the Co-op recorded a 76 per cent increase in antisocial behaviour and verbal abuse.
A coalition including leading supermarkets and trade have written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging that legislation is required to protect the three million workers in the sector.
The government has rejected calls for a new law, but the letter warns that shopworkers continue to face violence, abuse and antisocial behaviour.
The Co-op published a new report to back up the call for tougher penalties for those committing attacks on shopworkers.
In the first quarter of this year, it has seen almost 400 incidents where weapons have been used against shopworkers, with over half of those involving sharp implements, such as a syringe or a knife or bottle.
“Violence, abuse and anti-social behaviour towards shopworkers is unacceptable, and it is clear from our conversations that there is appetite across the political spectrum to bring forward new clauses to the government’s Crime (PCSC) Bill which would provide the protection that frontline shopworkers need and deserve,” Co-op chief executive Jo Whitfield said.
“Stiffer sentencing will send out a clear message that criminal behaviour in our communities will not be tolerated by society, and importantly lets shopworkers – who have gone to amazing lengths to feed and care for communities throughout the pandemic – know that they are being listened to and taken seriously.
“Assaults and abuse should not be part of the job, and by standing together, I am confident we can encourage the government to change its mind and bring about greater protection for shopworkers in all our communities.”