The Home Affairs Committee has called for a “much stronger policing response” to tackle violence and abuse against shopworkers, as well as more support from employers and more prevention work on local high streets.
The news follows a recent survey by The Association of Convenience Stores which found that 89% of individuals working in local shops had experienced some form of abuse.
Co-op also reported a “fourfold rise” in incidents of violent crime between 2014 and 2020, whilst The British Retail Consortium reported that the number of incidents recorded last year amounts to the equivalent of one a minute during a typical shopping day.
In response, the committee’s own survey found that only one in five shopworkers who reported incidents were “satisfied” with the response from the police.
The report notes that other categories of workers, such as emergency workers and customs officers, have been afforded extra protection by the law in recognition of the service they provide to the public and the responsibility placed upon them by parliament.
The committee believes that offences against retail workers must be treated with the “same seriousness”, with extra protection from the law.
Yvette Cooper, chair of the Home Affairs Committee, said: “During the Covid-19 pandemic, retail workers kept our communities going and they deserve our thanks and gratitude.
“Those who abuse and assault shop workers must not be allowed to reoffend with impunity. Police leaders must step up and make this a priority for local forces – with more neighbourhood police, clear plans to identify repeat offenders, respond to incidents swiftly and better record and understand patterns of local crimes.”