ACS Welcomes Progress of Protection of Workers Bill in Scottish Parliament

ACS has welcomed the passing of the Stage 1 vote on a Bill which aims to increase protections for shopworkers. The Bill must now pass Stage 2 at Holyrood before it becomes law.

The ‘Protection of Workers Bill’ aims to increase protection for retail workers by:

  • creating a new statutory offence of assaulting, threatening, abusing, obstructing or hindering a retail worker, and
  • creating a statutory aggravation to that offence where the retail worker is enforcing a statutory age restriction

ACS provided written evidence to a Scottish Parliamentary Committee earlier this year, outlining support for the introduction of the Bill and the additional protections that it provides for workers upholding and enforcing the law such as age restrictions.

The 2020 Crime Report shows that 83% of people who work in the convenience sector have been subjected to verbal abuse over the last year and there were over 50,000 incidents of violence estimated in the sector, with 25% of incidents resulting in injury.

During lockdown, 40% of retailers reported that violence and abuse against them and their staff had increased.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Retailers and store colleagues are most at risk from violence and abuse when just doing their job, whether it be enforcing age-restricted sales policies, refusing to serve intoxicated customers or trying to prevent shop theft. We’re delighted that MSPs have supported the progress of the Bill after an excellent campaign by the Scottish Grocers Federation, and we welcome the creation of a new statutory offence for attacks on shopworkers that will send a clear message to offenders that these incidents will not be tolerated.”

ACS has produced a short animation video for retailers and their staff, which details ways in which stores can manage and anticipate incidents of violence and abuse, including advice on dealing with shop thieves and enforcing age restrictions. The video is available here.


This entry was posted by Chris on Thu, 24/09/2020 - 18:02