The British Retail Consortium has welcomed the tabling of an amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill to create a standalone offence of 'Offence of assaulting a retail worker', adding that retail crime is currently 'soaring' in the UK.
The amendment, which was tabled by Alex Norris MP, would introduce a clause to the current Bill to make the assault or abuse of a retail worker a specific standalone offence.
"This amendment would show clear support for millions of dedicated retail workers up and down the country," said Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC.
“Retail crime is soaring, with over 850 incidents of violence and abuse against retail workers every day, double pre-pandemic levels. Shoplifting has also increased by an average of 27% across ten of the UK’s largest cities in the last year.
“The rise in incidents comes despite retailers investing hundreds of millions of pounds in safety measures such as body-worn cameras, more security personnel and CCTV."
Dickinson added that the industry is not prepared to "stand idle" and let another year pass by as retail crime continues to rise, and workers continue to be affected.
She called on MPs "of all stripes" to support this amendment, adding that the Protection of Workers Act in Scotland already provides protection to retail workers, but more effort is needed across the entire UK.
"This amendment would show a clear commitment to making front line retail workers safer in their place of work," she said. "It would also increase the visibility of incidents so that police forces can allocate appropriate resources and ensure they provide an adequate response to incidents.”