I have been working closely with Usdaw – the trade union that represents shopworkers – and the Co-Op to ensure that we strengthen the law against those who commit violence against shopworkers.
Shoplifting has increased, attacks on shopworkers has risen and the Government need to sort this out. I have applied on four separate occasions for a debate and I will keep doing so.
I asked the Leader of the House of Commons if she would give government time for this debate so we can do right for the hundreds of thousands of people who work in retail and keep them safe.
I welcome the moves by the Home Office Minister, Victoria Atkins MP, to undertake a review of attacks on shopworkers.
The review was agreed following David Hanson MP’s amendment to the Offensive Weapons Bill. Mr Hanson tabled an amendment to the Bill to ensure that retail staff who were checking the age of customers purchasing bladed items or corrosive substances would be protected by a new aggravated offence. During the debate on the new amendment, David Hanson MP said: Read more “Offensive Weapons Bill – Freedom from Fear”
The rise in retail crime over the past year is truly worrying. Our shopworkers are being put at risk and local shops are facing a the costs associated with it. Since last year, retail crime has increased from a total direct cost of £660 million to just over £700 million. This is money that is being lost due to criminals and stops employers from investing in our communities.
I have been working with the Co-Op and Usdaw – the shopworkers trade union – to raise awareness of the need for a plan to tackle this shocking rise. I asked the Leader of the House if she will give time for a debate on retail crime so that I can hold the UK Government to account for their reckless cuts to policing and security measures in our towns and villages.
No one should have to go to work in fear. I want the Government to combat this head on so we can fulfil our promise to retail staff that they have freedom from fear.
The Offensive Weapons Bill brings in new offences for people trying to buy bladed weapons or acids who are under-age. This came about due to the rise in violent crime across the UK.
However, this Bill would put in place new responsibilities for shopworkers to police this law but gave them no new protections if they are attacked when do so. That is why I put forward a New Clause which would make it an aggravated offence to attack a shopworker who is checking someones age or refusing them the sale.
I am supported by Usdaw, the Co-Op, ACS, the BRC, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Nottinghamshire Police and the National Federation of Retail Newsagents. The only people not supporting my New Clause is the UK Government.
The Government has promised to meet with me and all those supporting me to see if they will introduce these much needed legal protections. If they fail to accept my demands then I will reintroduce my amendments in the House of Lords with a colleague. This is far from over.