ACS: Police and Retail Industry Must Work More Closely to Tackle Violence Against Shopworkers

Today (14th April) ACS gave oral evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee on the Government’s and policing response to incidents of violence and abuse of shopworkers, calling for urgent action to protect retail workers.

In evidence session, ACS reiterated the recommendations in its written submission, which include:

  • A comprehensive review of the out of court disposals system to tackle the root causes of offending instead of issuing ineffective fines to repeat offenders
  • New legislation is needed to protect retail workers and send a clear message that violence against people working in stores will not be tolerated
  • The Home Office should focus on visible community policing and improving local forces’ ability to respond to retail violence

Findings from ACS’ 2021 Crime Report, revealed that 89% of colleagues working in local shops have experienced some form of abuse, with over 1.2million incidents recorded over the last year.  

Speaking during the evidence session, ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We need police forces to put more focus on violence and abuse and acquisitive crime faced by local shops. This can only be achieved if Police and Crime Commissioners acknowledge and address the problem at a local level and give police forces the resources they need to respond.

“The problem of violence and abuse against colleagues working in our sector is getting worse, not better and enough is enough. The Government needs to take urgent action to protect shopworkers and to send the clear message that violent and abusive behaviour is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”

Timeline of Government Action on Violence and Abuse

  • 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: 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.

ACS’ written submission is available here.

This entry was posted by Chloe on Wed, 14/04/2021 - 10:26