The retail sector has called for the government to take greater action in protecting shop staff after the British Retail Consortium (BRC) revealed that 115 attacks take place everyday.
The BRC said that following a consultation that closed over six months ago an estimated 21,000 shop workers have been attacked in their workplace.
In June 2019, the BRC submitted evidence, supported by Usdaw and the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), which showed the scale of retail violence in the UK. Common triggers include enforcing legally required age restriction checks, refusing to serve intoxicated customers, or challenging thieves.
The retail association said violence has grown despite “record spending” of nearly £1bn per year by retailers on crime prevention, adding that a “new approach” is required as there is a “significant imbalance” between risk and reward for these criminals.
Labour MP Kate Green is said to be “working closely” with the BRC and is pushing for more effective sentences for violent offenders convicted of attacking retail workers and more police officer resources to be dedicated to halting the rise in retail violence
Green has since tabled written Parliamentary Questions including asking the Justice Secretary what plans the Government has to strengthen sentences for violent offenders who attack retail workers.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC said: “Violence against shop workers is a critical issue and any delays to tackling it will serve only to create more victims. No one should ever go to work in fear for simply carrying out their job.
“Retail workers are at the core of our communities across the country and these horrific crimes impact these skilled, passionate and determined individuals that make the industry what it is.”
Green added: “What retail workers have to face every day is completely unacceptable. Parliament must investigate this critical issue as a matter of urgency.
“ I implore the government to take steps quickly, starting with responding to the call for evidence and I will continue to push for an increase of patrolling police officers to help deter these violent criminals.”