Protect Retail Workers from Abuse, Threats and Violence.

Enact legislation to protect retail workers. This legislation must create a specific offence of abusing, threatening or assaulting a retail worker. The offence must carry a penalty that acts as a deterrent and makes clear that abuse of retail workers is unacceptable.

This petition closed on 24 Jan 2021 with 104,354 signatures


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Recent Documents related to Protect Retail Workers from Abuse, Threats and Violence.

1. Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill 2017-19
25/04/2018 - Parliamentary Research

Found: Number 8113, 25 April 2018 Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill 2017-19 By Sally Lipscombe Grahame

2. Jail time to double for assaulting an emergency worker
13/09/2018 - Ministry of Justice
- View source

Found: Jail time to double for assaulting an emergency worker - GOV.UK

3. Debate on e-petition 176138 relating to attacks on NHS medical staff
23/02/2017 - Parliamentary Research

Found: The petition, which calls to fiMake it a specific criminal offence to attack any member of NHS Medical Stafffl

4. Written Evidence: Standing Committee for Youth Justice (OWB148) (PDF)
05/09/2018 - Bill Documents

Found: sentences do not deter c hildren . Children carry weapons for a multitude of reasons, and criminal

5. Call for Evidence
15/01/2021 - Inquiry: Violence and abuse towards retail workers - Home Affairs Committee
- View source

Found: Call for evidence Violence and abuse towards retail workers Background Research has suggested that

Latest Documents
Recent Speeches related to Protect Retail Workers from Abuse, Threats and Violence.

1. Retail Workers: Protection
11/02/2020 - Westminster Hall

1: That this House has considered protection of retail workers.It is a pleasure to serve under your - Speech Link

2. Retail Crime
11/04/2019 - Westminster Hall

1: That this House has considered prevention of retail crime.I welcome you to the Chair, Mr Robertson - Speech Link

3. Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill
29/06/2018 - Lords Chamber

1: the Second Reading of the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill. The Bill had a successful passage - Speech Link

4. Attacks on NHS Staff
27/02/2017 - Westminster Hall

1: me to highlight the scale of the problem. It is clear that the petition has struck a chord with the public - Speech Link

5. Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill
27/04/2018 - Commons Chamber

1: 89(1) of the Police Act 1996, leave out from ‘offence’ to end of subsection (1) and insert— ‘and - Speech Link
2: specifically on police constables carry the same penalty as the new offence and not just the six months currently - Speech Link

6. Protections for Emergency Service Workers
04/11/2020 - Westminster Hall

1: has considered protections for emergency service workers.It is an honour to serve under your chairmanship - Speech Link

7. Offensive Weapons Bill (Fourth sitting)
19/07/2018 - Public Bill Committees

1: from the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers. We have until 2.30 pm for this panel. Welcome - Speech Link
2: the aims, but with any age-restricted sales legislation, it is often our members who are expected to - Speech Link
3: numbers we are talking about for threats or assaults on retail workers?Tony Dale: Last year, we - Speech Link

8. Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill
20/10/2017 - Commons Chamber

1: anyone is wrong, but an attack on any emergency worker—whether that is a police constable, a paramedic - Speech Link
2: the ambulance and they told me that they faced abuse on a daily basis. I told them about this Bill, and - Speech Link
3: fact that the number of assaults on emergency workers has dramatically increased in recent years. The - Speech Link
4: that she elegantly shaped.Figures from NHS Protect are equally disturbing. There were 59,794 attacks - Speech Link
5: among police officers but among other emergency workers when they see people walking out of court with - Speech Link
6: lawyers—dislike it whenever we introduce a new offence, but I hope the Bill will make a difference.Incidentally - Speech Link
7: Gentleman just did, that assaults on emergency workers are not solely an urban problem. Given the chronic - Speech Link

9. Retail Crime Prevention
05/11/2019 - Westminster Hall

1: That this House has considered prevention of retail crime.Welcome to the Chair, Mr Betts, for - Speech Link
2: cost of retail crime. Does he agree that there is also a human cost to retail crime and that we must do all - Speech Link
3: Distributive and Allied Workers and the GMB, which represent shop workers in my constituency. My right - Speech Link

10. Intimidation in Public Life
21/05/2019 - Westminster Hall

1: and divisive general election campaign, in which abuse, intimidation and criminal damage appeared to be - Speech Link
2: recently vandalised with graffiti, stickers and threatening messages. That was concerning for me because - Speech Link
3: thoughts on that, but from my point of view, the answer must be yes. It is worth reminding anyone who might think - Speech Link
4: election; my staff were spat at, and there were threats and damage to property. Perhaps the most sinister - Speech Link
5: for bringing this important debate. A lot of the abuse goes under the radar. I was slightly hesitant even - Speech Link

Latest Speeches
Recent Questions related to Protect Retail Workers from Abuse, Threats and Violence.
Latest Questions

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Throughout the Coronavirus outbreak, retail workers have been spat at, threatened with infection of Coronavirus and physically assaulted. Since the start of the outbreak, the average retail worker has been assaulted, threatened or abused every 6.5 days, more than double the rate of incidents compared to 2019.

Key workers across retail have been undervalued for too long. We need to recognise the valuable contribution of these workers and ensure they are safe whilst undertaking essential work.


Government Response

The Government is not persuaded that a specific offence is needed as a wide range of offences already exist which cover assaults against any worker, including shop workers.


Everyone should feel safe at work which is why assaults on shop workers, doing vital work for the country and the economy are simply unacceptable. The Government pays tribute to all shop workers who have worked tirelessly during the pandemic to keep shops stocked with essential items.

Although the Government is sympathetic to the motivations behind the petition, it remains unpersuaded of the need for a specific offence as there are already a wide range of offences which exist and which cover assaults against any worker, including shop workers and those selling age restricted items. Relevant offences include common assault, actual bodily harm and grievous bodily harm, harassment and other public order offences which criminalise threatening or abusive behaviour intended to harass, alarm or distress a person. All these offences already apply to people whose work brings them into contact with members of the public.

In April last year, the Home Office published a call for evidence - `Violence and abuse towards shop staff’ - to further understand the issue of violence and abuse towards shop workers, the measures which may help prevent these crimes and the extent to which existing legislation is being used to tackle them. The consultation concluded on 28 June 2019.

An overview of the responses to that call for evidence, showed there to be a general lack of faith in the way in which these crimes are dealt with either by the police, the shop worker’s employer or in response to shop workers themselves. This seemed to contribute to the view that the response to such crimes was often inadequate and was also a factor that led individuals to decide not to report further incidents. The Government believes that it is this issue that requires more urgent action rather than a change in the law.

The Government’s response to that call for evidence was published on 7 July 2020 and sets out plans to crack down on abuse and violence against shop workers. The steps, which are detailed in the Home Office’s response to the call for evidence (see - https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/violence-and-abuse-toward-shop-staff-call-for-evidence) are designed to improve support for victims and ensure perpetrators face justice. They include working with the National Retail Crime Steering Group (NRCSG) on a best practice guide to support staff in reporting these crimes, strengthening and making full use of existing laws, and improving data sharing between businesses and the police.

The courts also have a statutory duty to follow sentencing guidelines. The current guidelines for assault offences specify that it is an aggravating factor for an offence to be committed against a person who works in the public sector or who is providing a service to the public, such as a shop worker. In 2019, the independent Sentencing Council for England and Wales provided additional advice on this factor in order to make clear that it could apply to those working in the private as well as the public sector. In all cases, therefore, the fact that an offence has been committed against a person serving the public will be considered an aggravating factor when passing sentence. In addition, due to the outbreak of Covid-19, the Sentencing Council also published interim guidance in April that clarifies that, when sentencing assault offences relating to the transmission of Covid-19, the courts should treat this as meriting a more severe sentence.

Ministry of Justice