Some 100 of the UK’s “leading” retailers have written to the Prime Minister calling on him to support an amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill that would tackle violence and abuse against retail workers.
The letter, which was coordinated by the British Retail Consortium (BRC), comes as the latest research by the group’s found that retailers are reporting “increasing levels of violence”, during the pandemic, as staff try to implement Covid-19 rules.
According to the BRC, one business reported a 76% increase in abuse and a 10% increase in violent attacks during the pandemic, of which “over half involved a weapon, and many staff have been coughed at or spat on”.
The bill is set to receive its third reading in parliament today (5 July), with the BRC hoping to see the same protective rights as those in Scotland, where Daniel Johnson MSP’s Protection of Workers Bill became law earlier this year.
Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive of the BRC, said: “Retailer workers are facing violence and abuse every day just for doing their jobs – keeping customers safe during the pandemic, checking ID, and confronting shoplifters.
“Behind each of these statistics is a person, a family, colleagues and communities that have to cope with this trauma. No-one should go to work fearing for their safety, yet many retail workers have come to see it as part of the job – this can’t go on.”