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Written Question
Retail Trade: Crimes of Violence
2 Dec 2021

Questioner: Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi (LAB - Slough)

Question

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

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
25 Nov 2021

Questioner: Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi (LAB - Slough)

Question

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

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
25 Nov 2021

Questioner: Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi (LAB - Slough)

Question

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

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
6 Jul 2021

Questioner: Sarah Atherton (CON - Wrexham)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she has made an assessment of the potential merits of collecting data on the number of assaults on retail workers in England and Wales by local authority area, separate to the Commercial Victimisation Survey.

Answered by Kit Malthouse

The Government conducted a call for evidence on violence and abuse toward shop staff to understand the extent of the issue and how we can work with retailers and police to improve the response to these crimes. The Government’s formal response was published 7 July 2020 and is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/violence-and-abuse-toward-shop-staff-call-for-evidence


Written Question
Retail Trade: Harassment
23 Jun 2021

Questioner: Jim Shannon (DUP - Strangford)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to tackle (a) verbal and (b) physical abuse faced by retail workers during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answered by Kit Malthouse

The Government conducted a call for evidence on violence and abuse toward shop staff to understand the extent of the issue and how we can work with retailers and police to improve the response to these crimes. The Government’s formal response was published 7 July 2020 and is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/violence-and-abuse-toward-shop-staff-call-for-evidence

To address the actions raised in the call for evidence the Home Office has worked closely with retailers and trade organisations through the National Retail Crime Steering Group. We have developed resources to assist retailers to report crimes when they occur, resources for shop staff who are victims of violence and abuse, and the #Shopkind communications campaign. The downloadable resources are free to use and are available here: https://brc.org.uk/nrcsg-against-shop-worker-abuse-and-violence/


Written Question
Retail Trade: Abuse and Violence
23 Jun 2021

Questioner: Zarah Sultana (LAB - Coventry South)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to help protect retail workers from abuse, threats and violence during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answered by Kit Malthouse

The Government conducted a call for evidence on violence and abuse toward shop staff to understand the extent of the issue and how we can work with retailers and police to improve the response to these crimes. The Government’s formal response was published 7 July 2020 and is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/violence-and-abuse-toward-shop-staff-call-for-evidence

To address the actions raised in the call for evidence the Home Office has worked closely with retailers and trade organisations through the National Retail Crime Steering Group. We have developed resources to assist retailers to report crimes when they occur, resources for shop staff who are victims of violence and abuse, and the #Shopkind communications campaign. The downloadable resources are free to use and are available here: https://brc.org.uk/nrcsg-against-shop-worker-abuse-and-violence/


Written Question
Retail Trade: Abuse and Violence
21 Jun 2021

Questioner: Nicholas Brown (LAB - Newcastle upon Tyne East)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the effect of covid-19 legislation, including enforcing social distancing and mask-wearing, on levels of violence and abuse experienced by shop workers.

Answered by Kit Malthouse

There are no official figures on the number of assaults in a retail setting.

This Government recognises that the abuse and physical violence faced by shop staff can have a significant impact on their health, not only physically but mentally and emotionally. These crimes are unacceptable, and the Home Office is working closely with retailers and trade organisations through the National Retail Crime Steering Group to reduce violence and abuse in retail settings.


Written Question
Retail Trade: Harassment
15 Jun 2021

Questioner: Dean Russell (CON - Watford)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans she has to protect retail workers from verbal and physical abuse as covid-19 lockdown restrictions ease.

Answered by Kit Malthouse

The Government conducted a call for evidence on violence and abuse toward shop staff to understand the extent of the issue and how we can improve the response to these crimes. The Government’s formal response was published 7 July 2020 and is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/violence-and-abuse-toward-shop-staff-call-for-evidence

To address the actions raised in the call for evidence the Home Office has worked closely with retailers and trade organisations through the National Retail Crime Steering Group. We have developed resources to assist retailers to report crimes when they occur, resources for shop staff who are victims of violence and abuse, and the #Shopkind communications campaign. The downloadable resources are free to use and are available here: https://brc.org.uk/nrcsg-against-shop-worker-abuse-and-violence/


Written Question
Retail Trade: Violence
14 Jun 2021

Questioner: Rachael Maskell (LAB - York Central)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the level of violence experienced by retail workers during the covid-19 outbreak in (a) York, (b) North Yorkshire and (c) England.

Answered by Kit Malthouse

This Government recognises that the abuse and physical violence faced by shop staff can have a significant impact on their health, not only physically but mentally and emotionally. In response to the Government’s Call for Evidence in 2019 the majority of respondents believed violence and abuse toward retail staff had increased in recent years.

While the consultation reflected the experiences of retailers and shopworkers before the pandemic, representatives of the sector on the National Retail Crime Steering Group have reported that retailers experienced an increase in incidents of abuse against their staff during the panic buying that occurred in March 2020, and during the subsequent months while social distancing measures were in place.

The Government’s formal response to the Call for Evidence was published 7 July 2020 and is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/violence-and-abuse-toward-shop-staff-call-for-evidence

The Home Office is working closely with retailers and trade organisations through the National Retail Crime Steering Group. We have developed resources to assist retailers to report crimes when they occur, resources for shop staff who are victims of violence and abuse, and the #Shopkind communications campaign. The downloadable resources are free to use and are available here: https://brc.org.uk/nrcsg-against-shop-worker-abuse-and-violence/

The next phase of the work will look at the causes of retail violence, such as drug and alcohol addiction, and what can be done to address these in the retail setting.


Written Question
Retail Trade: Crimes of Violence
11 Jun 2021

Questioner: Dan Jarvis (LAB - Barnsley Central)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans the Government has to bring forward legislative proposals similar to the Protection of Workers (Retail and Age-restricted Goods and Services) (Scotland) Bill.

Answered by Kit Malthouse

This Government considers existing legislation covers a wide range of offences which criminalise threatening or abusive behaviour intended to harass, alarm or distress a person, and which would apply in cases of violence towards people whose work brings them into contact with members of the public. These offences cover the full spectrum of unacceptable behaviour from using abusive language to the most serious and violent offences.

While the sentencing of offenders is extremely important, reporting, investigating and making sure there are consequences for these crimes is much more likely to drive down the numbers of incidents.


Written Question
Retail Trade: Abuse
20 May 2021

Questioner: Andrea Leadsom (CON - South Northamptonshire)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to protect shopworkers from abusive customers.

Answered by Kit Malthouse

The Government conducted a call for evidence on violence and abuse toward shop staff to understand the extent of the issue and how we can improve the response to these crimes. The Government’s formal response was published 7 July 2020 and is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/violence-and-abuse-toward-shop-staff-call-for-evidence

To address the actions raised in the call for evidence the Home Office has worked closely with retailers and trade organisations through the National Retail Crime Steering Group. We have developed resources to assist retailers to report crimes when they occur, resources for shop staff who are victims of violence and abuse, and the #Shopkind communications campaign. The downloadable resources are free to use and are available here: https://brc.org.uk/nrcsg-against-shop-worker-abuse-and-violence/

The next phase of the work will look at the causes of retail violence, such as drug and alcohol addiction, and what can be done to address these in the retail setting.


Written Question
Retail Trade: Crimes of Violence
9 Mar 2021

Questioner: Lisa Cameron (SNP - East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps the Government is taking to (a) keep safe, (b) support and (c) protect frontline staff in light of the finding by Usdaw that abusive incidents toward shop workers have doubled since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

Answered by Kit Malthouse

The Government conducted a call for evidence on violence and abuse toward shop staff to understand the extent of the issue and how we can improve the response to these crimes. The formal response was published 7 July 2020 and is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/violence-and-abuse-toward-shop-staff-call-for-evidence

To address the actions raised in the call for evidence the Government is working closely with retailers and trade organisations, including Usdaw through the National Retail Crime Steering Group to deliver a programme of work which aims to provide better support to victims, improve reporting, increase data sharing between businesses and police, and raise awareness of this crime among employers and the public.


Written Question
Retail Trade: Crimes of Violence
8 Feb 2021

Questioner: Alex Cunningham (LAB - Stockton North)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, in what proportion of convictions for assaults against retail workers the sentence was increased on account of the aggravating factor of offence committed against those working in the public sector or providing a service to the public in each of the last three years.

Answered by Chris Philp

Everyone should feel safe at work which is why assaults on retail workers, doing vital work for the country and the economy, are simply unacceptable. However, centrally held information on assault offences does not identify whether the victim was a retail worker, nor whether any aggravating factors were taken into account in sentencing. This information may be held on court records, but to be able to identify cases in which a sentence was increased on account of the aggravating factor of the offence committed against those working in the public sector or providing a service to the public would require accessing individual court records, which would be of disproportionate cost.


Written Question
Retail Trade: Crimes of Violence
5 Feb 2021

Questioner: Lord Kennedy of Southwark (LAB - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the Protection of Workers (Retail and Age-restricted Goods and Services) (Scotland) Act 2021; and what plans they have to introduce similar legislation in relation to retail workers in England.

Answered by Lord Greenhalgh

Justice is a devolved matter in Scotland and so the introduction of any new offence in Scotland is a matter for the Scottish Government and Parliament to consider and we will monitor the effects of the new Scottish legislation.

The Government is committed to keeping our retail environments safe by driving down violence and abuse towards shop staff. We are working with retail stakeholders through the National Retail Crime Steering Group to ensure the response to these crimes is as robust as it can be. A wide range of offences already exist which cover assaults against any worker, including shop workers. In all cases, the fact that an offence has been committed against a person serving the public will be considered an aggravating factor for the purpose of passing sentence.


Written Question
Retail Trade: Crimes of Violence
7 Sep 2020

Questioner: Philip Davies (CON - Shipley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate she has made of the number of assaults on shop workers in each of the last three years.

Answered by Kit Malthouse

The Home Office collects data relating to assaults and threats against retail staff via the ‘Commercial Victimisation Survey’ (CVS). However, 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 survey will be conducted in early 2021 with results available later in that year.