Close this search box.

Shop worker assault law change ‘not enough’, says Retail Trust

Image © Shutterstock

Assaulting a retail worker will be made a standalone criminal offence in England and Wales, as the UK government reacts to growing retail crime.

Serial or abusive shoplifters will face tougher punishments under the new offence. It follows longstanding campaigning on this issue from Matt Vickers MP, and some of the biggest retailers who have urged for more action to better protect their staff. 

Data from the Retail Trust showed almost half of retail workers feel unsafe at work, with 90% having experienced physical or verbal abuse from customers. Some 41% of retail workers reported this happens weekly, which is up from 34% previously.

The charity has been calling on the government to make assaults on shop workers a standalone criminal offence for some time. It has been the case in Scotland, giving police more powers to prosecute. While the charity has welcomes today’s change, its CEO has expressed concerns.

“The big question we are left with today is, is this enough? And the simple answer is, on its own, probably not, which is why there needs to be a cross industry and society push to face into this worrying trend, ” noted Chris Brook-Carter, Retail Trust’s CEO.

“We still encourage retail workers experiencing abuse to report it to their managers. Retailers themselves need to ensure they have the right support for their colleagues and systems and policies in place to record and report to the police. And our police forces must prioritise dealing with these crimes.

“Sadly, currently, one in four colleagues don’t report incidents. More than two thirds said they don’t think it will help, nearly a quarter said they had been put off by a previously unhelpful response from the police and over a quarter said they didn’t know how to respond to or report abusive incidents.”

Stay informed
Our editor carefully curates two newsletters a week filled with up-to-date news, analysis and research, click here to subscribe to the FREE newsletter sent straight to your inbox and why not follow us on LinkedIn to receive the latest updates on our research and analysis.

Read More

Register for Newsletter

Group 4 Copy 3Created with Sketch.

Receive 3 newsletters per week

Group 3Created with Sketch.

Gain access to all Top500 research

Group 4Created with Sketch.

Personalise your experience on