A new petition calling on the Government to make violence or abuse against retail workers a standalone criminal offence has surpassed 10,000 signatures.\r\n\r\nThe petition was lodged with Parliament this week by Tesco worker, Jenny Whyte, who works in Tesco convenience stores in the North of England.\r\n\r\nIf the number of signatories for a petition passes 10,000 then the Government has to respond to it. The number of signatories for this petition currently stands at over 12,000. If it gathers 100,000 signatures then it may be debated in Parliament.\u00a0\r\n\r\nTesco\u2019s petition comes amid the continuous rise of verbal abuse and assaults on retail workers, with Tesco reporting that violent incidents against its store workers are up by a third against last year.\r\n\r\nTesco\u2019s UK CEO, Jason Tarry, has voiced his support for the new petition, saying that he wants employees to be safe at work.\u00a0\r\n\r\nHe said: \u201cCreating a standalone offence not only sends a strong message to the small but violent group of people who abuse and attack shopworkers, but also makes it clear to shopworkers that as a nation we take protecting them seriously. I would encourage anyone who wants to see retail workers better protected to sign the petition, as every signature makes a difference.\u201d\r\n\r\nWhyte added: \u201cNobody should come to work afraid that they could be assaulted or abused for just doing their job. Things have definitely got worse over the past few years, and some of the incidents that colleagues have had to deal with are truly shocking. The Government could show it is serious about protecting retail workers on the front line with a specific offence, and I hope this petition will encourage them to do that.\u201d\r\n\r\nTo tackle the increasing abuse of shopworkers, Tesco has brought in further measures to protect its staff, including body cameras that they can choose to wear, and new toughened glass safety screens being fitted in more than 300 Tesco Express convenience stores and petrol station kiosks.