The British Retail Consortium (BRC), the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), Usdaw and the National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN) have launched a campaign calling on the Chair of the Home Affairs Committee, Yvette Cooper MP to launch an inquiry into retail violence.
According to the campaigners, despite the thousands of retail staff being impacted by violence and abuse in the workplace, the Government has rejected numerous calls to protect shopworkers through the creation of a specific offence which would impose tougher penalties on perpetrators.
A recent report published by ACS found that there were over 50,000 violent incidents in local shops. Staff had been verbally and violently assaulted, as well as spat at and coughed on for challenging shoplifters, enforcing age-restricted sales and implementing coronavirus safety measures.
James Lowman, Chief Executive of Association of Convenience Stores, said: “Violence and abuse against shopworkers rose for 40% of retailers during lockdown, who were there every day on the front line to keep their communities going. Nobody should have to go to work expecting to face abuse, which is why we need proper interventions, including tougher sentences and additional police resources to stop the cycle of repeat offending.”