ACS: Government Must Commit to Greater Protection for Shopworkers

ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) has briefed Peers ahead of the Second Reading of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill (PCSC) in the House of Lords, calling for the Government to consider amendments which would introduce tougher sentencing to address attacks against shopworkers.

In its briefing to Peers, ACS outlines the scale and impact of violence and abuse against shopworkers, with over 40,000 shopworkers experiencing violence and 89% experiencing verbal abuse over the past year. ACS is calling on the government to introduce an amendment that would enforce tougher penalties for attacks on individuals serving the public.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Last week, the Government responded to the Home Affairs Select Committee’s report on violence and abuse towards retail workers and once again failed to commit to introducing a new separate offence for attacks on shopworkers.

“We are calling on the Government to take urgent and decisive action to consider amendments to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill to create a separate offence for attacks on shopworkers and provide our colleagues with the protection that they desperately need.”

ACS is currently co-ordinating with the Home Office, Crimestoppers and over 100 leading retailers in the UK on the ShopKind campaign, urging consumers to be respectful of others whilst in stores. Campaign materials for retailers are available to download on the NBCC website here.

Violence and Abuse Against Retailers: Timeline

  • March 2019: ACS, Home Office and retail sector launch #AlwaysReportAbuse campaign.
  • April 2019: Call for evidence on violence and abuse is launched, and receives responses from almost 3,500 interested parties, including retailers and colleagues that have been victims of abuse and violence at work.
  • March 2020: Yvette Cooper speakers at Retail Industry Parliament Reception on violence and abuse against shopworkers.
  • March 2020: Ten Minute Rule motion on Assaults on Retail Workers, proposed by Alex Norris MP, is passed and added to the register of Parliamentary business. The Bill is first scheduled to be debated in April 2020, but is subsequently delayed.
  • May 2020: Police and Crime Commissioner elections are delayed due to Coronavirus, currently scheduled to take place in May 2021.
  • July 2020: Government issues formal response to call for evidence on violence and abuse over a year after the consultation closed, stating that no changes to the law are necessary.
  • September 2020: Crime Minister Kit Malthouse writes to all Police and Crime Commissioners, reminding them of the importance of prosecuting shop theft offences under the value of £200 as well as those over £200.
  • December 2020: Home Affairs Select Committee launches new consultation, looking at whether the Government’s own response to its call for evidence was adequate.
  • February 2021: Scottish Parliament passes the Protection of Workers (Retail and Age-restricted Goods and Services) (Scotland) Act. The Bill was sponsored by Daniel Johnson MSP and introduced an aggravated offence for attacks on shopworkers
  • March 2021: ACS launches 2021 Crime Report, revealing that 89% of colleagues in stores have been the victim of abuse over the last year, with a total of 1.2m incidents of abuse recorded.
  • April 2021: ACS gives evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee, outlining the scale of the problem of violence and abuse against shopworkers.
  • April 2021: ACS, the Home Office, Crimestoppers and over 100 retailers and trade bodies come together to launch the #ShopKind campaign, funded by the Home Office.
  • May 2021: Second reading of Alex Norris’ Bill on Assaults on Retail Workers is once again delayed. A second reading date is yet to be set.
  • May 2021: Police and Crime Commissioner elections take place. ACS sets out a series of recommendations for Police and Crime Commissioners to encourage them to take retail crime more seriously.
  • June 2021: Shadow Policing Minister proposes an amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts (PCSC) Bill that would introduce a new offence for abusing a shopworker.
  • June 2021: Government rejects amendment to PCSC Bill, stating that existing legislation is adequate to deal with violence and abuse. Suggests that employers need to do more to increase reporting levels.
  • June 2021: Home Affairs Select Committee, led by Rt Hon Yvette Cooper MP, publishes report on violence and abuse against retailers, calling for urgent action to address the problem. Recommendations include a new offence for attacking shopworkers, and a more formal response to incidents from police.
  • September 2021: Home Office responds the Home Affairs Select Committee report
This entry was posted by Chloe on Mon, 13/09/2021 - 16:04