// The UK’s leading retailers call on the government to tackle retail violence
// The letter has been signed by 100 of the leading UK retailers
// The letter comes just after a Home Affairs Select Committee report last week
The UK’s leading retailers have written to the Prime Minister calling him to support an amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill that would tackle escalating violence and abuse against retail workers.
The letter has been signed by 100 of the leading UK retailers, which includes Aldi, Asda, WH Smith, Waitrose, the Co-op Group, Sainsbury’s, Amazon, Asos, Tesco and Morrisons amongst others.
The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), Bira and the British Retail Consortium (BRC) have also shown their support by signing the letter.
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.”
Recent research by retailers said that 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.
According to the BRC, seven per cent year-on-year increase in incidents of violence and abuse in 2019, which equals 455 cases each day.
One business reported a 76 per cent increase in abuse and a 10 per cent increase in violent attacks during the pandemic, of which over half involved a weapon, and many staff have been coughed at or spat on.
As a result of the recent attacks, the BRC said retailers have invested over £1.2 billion billion in the past year alone on crime prevention.
This includes a range of measures such as body-worn cameras, personal attack alarms and increased security personnel.
“Retailer workers are facing violence and abuse every day just for doing their jobs – keeping customers safe during the pandemic, checking ID, and confronting shoplifters.” BRC chief executive officer Helen Dickinson OBE said.
“Behind each of these statistics is a person, a family, colleagues and communities that have to cope with this trauma. No one should go to work fearing for their safety, yet many retail workers have come to see it as part of the job – this can’t go on.
“The time for action is now. We need to see the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill deliver better protection for our colleagues.”