Local Shops Call for Action as Violence and Abuse Tops Half a Million Incidents

ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) has called on the Government to take urgent action to stop the abuse and violence faced by people working in retail just for doing their job.  

This Sunday (28th June) marks one year since the Home Office closed their consultation on violence and abuse against shopworkers. Since then, using data from the Home Office’s Commercial Victimisation Survey ACS estimates that there have been over half a million incidents of verbal abuse, threats and physical violence suffered by people working in the retail and wholesale sector. The consultation page on the Home Office website states that the Government is still ‘analysing feedback’.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Retailers and their colleagues working in shops have been on the front line throughout this pandemic. Despite keeping their communities fed and connected, people working in convenience stores have still been subject to a significant amount of unwarranted and unacceptable abuse. It remains the case that the justice system is not doing enough to tackle the cycle of repeat offending, and retailers lack confidence in the police’s ability to deal with crimes committed against their business. We’re once again sending a clear message to the Government that action is needed to support our members and the 405,000 colleagues that they employ.”

Figures from ACS’ Covid-19 Impact Survey, released last month, show that 40% of convenience retailers have seen an increase of violence and abuse from customers in their stores since the start of lockdown. Many shopworkers have also faced Covid-19 related threats, such as coughing and spitting

The 2020 ACS Crime Report, released in March, shows that 83% of people who work in the convenience sector have been subject to verbal abuse over the last year. The most common triggers for violence and abuse are encountering shop thieves, enforcing age restrictions, and refusing the sale of alcohol to intoxicated customers.

Earlier this year, ACS and other trade bodies and unions set out four areas where the Government need to take urgent action on violence against shopworkers. These actions are:

  • Tougher penalties for attacks on shopworkers
  • More effective interventions for repeat shop thieves, who are often stealing to feed a drug addiction
  • Include retail crime and violence in Police and Crime Commissioners’ plans making this a priority issue in every police force
  • Review police response to retail violence, focusing new resources on community policing to promote a consistent response across all force areas

Further details of the Home Office consultation are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/violence-and-abuse-toward-shop-staff-call-for-evidence

This entry was posted by Chloe on Sat, 27/06/2020 - 08:00