John Hannett – Usdaw General Secretary says: ‘In the course of their duties shopworkers can be put in real danger, suffering violence, threats and abuse. So it is always a real concern to our members when incidents of theft from shops are on the increase, because too often that can result in the shopworkers being assaulted by the thief.
“We have long been concerned that theft from shops is not taken seriously and sometimes regarded as a victimless crime against large companies, but the reality is very different. Shop theft is a very serious issue that leads to verbal abuse, threats and physical violence against shopworkers.
“Life on the frontline of retail can be pretty tough for many. We launched our Freedom From Fear Campaign in the face of growing concerns amongst retail workers about violence, threats and abuse. The campaign works with retailers to promote respect and make workplaces safer for staff and customers alike and we need the help of the police to deliver that aim.
“Retail crime remains too high and is a growing problem, there needs to be action to protect shopworkers. Some violent criminals charged with assault do not get to court and those who are can receive derisory sentences. In other cases the offender isn’t even charged and victims are left feeling that no one cares that they were assaulted.
“It is time for the Government to act by providing stiffer penalties for those who assault shopworkers. We need the police to respond to incidents, investigate and prosecute theft from shops. Retail staff are an important part of our communities and that role must be valued, respected and protected.”
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fourth biggest trade union with nearly 430,000 members. Membership has increased by more than 17% in the last five years and by nearly a third in the last decade. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the Union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.
The Crime Survey for England and Wales, produced by the ONS: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/bulletins/crimeinenglandandwales/yearendingdec2016#what-is-happening-to-trends-in-crime
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion