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Written Question
Retail Trade: Crimes of Violence
Tuesday 12th July 2022

Asked by: Rupa Huq (Labour - Ealing Central and Acton)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the current level of violence perpetrated against retail workers.

Answered by Tom Pursglove - Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)

The Government recognises the significant and long-lasting impact violence and abuse towards retail workers can have on its victims.

The Home Office Annual Commercial Victimisation Survey was published on 30 March 2022. The surveys highlight the sector’s experience of, and concerns about, levels of violence and abuse towards shop workers, and shop theft by customers. Annual retail sector crime surveys, undertaken by the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW) and the British Retail Consortium (BRC) were published in Spring 2022. Each of these surveys show an increase in violence and abuse towards retail workers in the previous year.

The Government has taken action to tackle assaults against any worker providing a service to the public by introducing a statutory aggravating factor via the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022.

The public-facing nature of the victim’s role will be considered an aggravating factor when it comes to sentencing for assault offences. It applies where an assault is committed against those providing a public service, performing a public duty or providing a service to the public. This includes those working in retail and other public-facing roles. The provision commenced on 28 June and builds on the important work already underway by the Home Office through the National Retail Crime Steering Group to ensure assaults are not seen as part of a retail worker’s job.


Written Question
Emergency Services and Retail Trade: Crimes of Violence
Friday 1st July 2022

Asked by: Stuart Anderson (Conservative - Wolverhampton South West)

Question to the Attorney General:

To ask the Attorney General, what steps she is taking with the CPS to improve prosecution rates for offences against retail and emergency workers.

Answered by Alex Chalk

The CPS treats assaults against retail and emergency workers extremely seriously. In accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors, charges are selected to reflect the seriousness and extent of the offending and give the court adequate powers to sentence.

The CPS is a signatory to a Joint Agreement on Offences against Emergency Workers which provides a framework to ensure the more effective investigation and prosecution of cases where emergency workers are the victim of a crime. It also sets the standards victims of these crimes can expect.

The CPS has issued legal guidance to prosecutors on the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act 2018. This guidance highlights that the Act requires courts to consider an offence against an emergency worker as an aggravating factor in sentencing. The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 has extended the statutory aggravating factor cover to assaults on those providing a public service including those who provide goods or facilities to the public.


Written Question
Retail Trade: Crimes of Violence
Monday 13th June 2022

Asked by: Catherine West (Labour - Hornsey and Wood Green)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent discussions she has had with representatives of the retail sector on crime against retail workers in their place of work.

Answered by Kit Malthouse - Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

The Government is working closely with retailers, trade organisations and enforcement partners via the National Retail Crime Steering Group (NRCSG) to ensure the response to crimes affecting the retail sector is as robust as it can be. The NRCSG is co-chaired by Tom Ironside, Director of Business & Regulation at the British Retail Consortium and me. This is an important forum to discuss crime issues experienced by retailers and to work together to find solutions.

The Government has taken action to tackle violence and abuse by introducing a statutory aggravating factor via the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022.

The public facing nature of the victim’s role will be considered an aggravating factor when it comes to sentencing for assault offences. It applies where an assault is committed against those providing a public service, performing a public duty or providing a service to the public. This rightly includes those working in retail and other public-facing roles. The provision will commence on 28 June and builds on the important work already underway through the NRCSG to ensure assaults are not seen as part of a retail worker’s job.


Written Question
Retail Trade: Crimes of Violence
Monday 13th June 2022

Asked by: Catherine West (Labour - Hornsey and Wood Green)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to tackle crime against retail workers in their place of work.

Answered by Kit Malthouse - Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

The Government is working closely with retailers, trade organisations and enforcement partners via the National Retail Crime Steering Group (NRCSG) to ensure the response to crimes affecting the retail sector is as robust as it can be. The NRCSG is co-chaired by Tom Ironside, Director of Business & Regulation at the British Retail Consortium and me. This is an important forum to discuss crime issues experienced by retailers and to work together to find solutions.

The Government has taken action to tackle violence and abuse by introducing a statutory aggravating factor via the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022.

The public facing nature of the victim’s role will be considered an aggravating factor when it comes to sentencing for assault offences. It applies where an assault is committed against those providing a public service, performing a public duty or providing a service to the public. This rightly includes those working in retail and other public-facing roles. The provision will commence on 28 June and builds on the important work already underway through the NRCSG to ensure assaults are not seen as part of a retail worker’s job.


Written Question
Retail Trade: Crimes of Violence
Monday 13th June 2022

Asked by: Catherine West (Labour - Hornsey and Wood Green)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the British Retail Consortium 2022 Crime Survey.

Answered by Kit Malthouse - Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

The Government is working closely with retailers, trade organisations and enforcement partners via the National Retail Crime Steering Group (NRCSG) to ensure the response to crimes affecting the retail sector is as robust as it can be. The NRCSG is co-chaired by Tom Ironside, Director of Business & Regulation at the British Retail Consortium and me. This is an important forum to discuss crime issues experienced by retailers and to work together to find solutions.

The Government has taken action to tackle violence and abuse by introducing a statutory aggravating factor via the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022.

The public facing nature of the victim’s role will be considered an aggravating factor when it comes to sentencing for assault offences. It applies where an assault is committed against those providing a public service, performing a public duty or providing a service to the public. This rightly includes those working in retail and other public-facing roles. The provision will commence on 28 June and builds on the important work already underway through the NRCSG to ensure assaults are not seen as part of a retail worker’s job.


Written Question
Retail Trade: Crimes of Violence
Monday 25th April 2022

Asked by: Emily Thornberry (Labour - Islington South and Finsbury)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many police charges have been made to date for assaults and threats against shop workers and owners that took place in the financial years (a) 2017/18 and (b) 2020/21.

Answered by Kit Malthouse - Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

The Home Office publishes information on outcomes assigned to offences recorded by the police and the latest data can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/police-recorded-crime-open-data-tables

However, it is not possible to separately identify the number of charges for assaults and threats against shop workers or on the number of charges or Penalty Notice for Disorder for the theft of goods by customers from retail and wholesale premises.


Written Question
Retail Trade: Crimes of Violence
Wednesday 20th April 2022

Asked by: Emily Thornberry (Labour - Islington South and Finsbury)

Question to the Attorney General:

To ask the Attorney General, how many CPS prosecutions there have been as of 30 March 2022 for assaults and threats against shop workers and owners that took place in the financial years (a) 2017-18 and (b) 2020-21.

Answered by Alex Chalk

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) does not maintain a central record of prosecutions based on the occupation of complainants, including shopworkers who were assaulted or threatened. This information could only be obtained by an examination of CPS case files, which would incur disproportionate cost.


Written Question
Retail Trade: Crimes of Violence
Thursday 2nd December 2021

Asked by: Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi (Labour - Slough)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many assaults made against retail workers were recorded in (a) Slough, (b) the South East and (c) England in each year from 2015 to 2021.

Answered by Kit Malthouse - Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

The Home Office collects data relating to assaults and threats against retail staff working in premises in England and Wales via the ‘Commercial Victimisation Survey’ (CVS). This includes information on assaults and threats experienced by staff working in Wholesale and Retail premises, these figures cannot be broken down to lower geographical areas. The latest estimates are from the 2018 CVS (available in the link below).

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/crime-against-businesses-findings-from-the-2018-commercial-victimisation-survey.

The next CVS results will be available in March 2022.


Written Question
Retail Trade: Crimes of Violence
Thursday 25th November 2021

Asked by: Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi (Labour - Slough)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make it her policy to bring forward legislative proposals for harsher penalties for the assault of retail workers.

Answered by Kit Malthouse - Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

The Government response to the Call for Evidence on Violence and Abuse Towards Shop Staff, published in 2020, sets out the Government’s programme of work to tackle violence and abuse in retail settings.

The Home Office is working closely with policing representatives via the National Retail Crime Steering Group (NRCSG) to help reduce assaults, make it easier for employers to report crimes and support employees who are victims of these crimes. The police-led National Business Crime Centre (NBCC) and the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) are closely involved in the work of the NRCSG.

On 5 July at the Commons Report debate of the Police Crime Sentencing and Courts Bill, the then Minister for Safeguarding Victoria Atkins MP committed to actively considering an amendment in the Lords if appropriate. The Home Office Minister Baroness Williams repeated this commitment in the Lords Committee debate on 17 November.


Written Question
Retail Trade: Crimes of Violence
Thursday 25th November 2021

Asked by: Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi (Labour - Slough)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what policing steps her Department is taking to tackle the abuse and assault of retail workers.

Answered by Kit Malthouse - Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

The Government response to the Call for Evidence on Violence and Abuse Towards Shop Staff, published in 2020, sets out the Government’s programme of work to tackle violence and abuse in retail settings.

The Home Office is working closely with policing representatives via the National Retail Crime Steering Group (NRCSG) to help reduce assaults, make it easier for employers to report crimes and support employees who are victims of these crimes. The police-led National Business Crime Centre (NBCC) and the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) are closely involved in the work of the NRCSG.

On 5 July at the Commons Report debate of the Police Crime Sentencing and Courts Bill, the then Minister for Safeguarding Victoria Atkins MP committed to actively considering an amendment in the Lords if appropriate. The Home Office Minister Baroness Williams repeated this commitment in the Lords Committee debate on 17 November.