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Offensive Weapons Bill: Second Reading

As a former shopworker for the Co-Op I know the difficulty retail workers face when dealing with customers who want to buy products which they are not old enough to purchase.

This Bill would bring into law welcomed restrictions on corrosive acid and knives to help tackle the rise in the use of these weapons in attacks. We have all heard the terrible cases where acid is thrown in people’s faces and the rapid rise in knife crime in metropolitan areas. I welcome this Bill in trying to do something about it.

However, it will also mean that shopworkers are responsible for assessing if someone is allowed to buy the products. These are the very same people who may have intent to attack someone with the product. But the Bill has no extra protections for retail workers in undertaking this task.

We must ensure that shopworkers have a freedom from fear when they go to work. Bringing into force a new offence of attacking a retail worker would do just that.

I was encouraged by the Home Secretary’s remarks and hope that I can work across the party divide for retail staff.