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Theft from shops is a serious crime that should always be investigated and prosecuted

Date: 13 March 2017 Shopworkers’ trade union leader John Hannett has welcomed clarification from Thames Valley Police, after reports over the weekend suggested that they “will not send out officers to deal with shoplifters who steal goods worth less than £100”.

Thames Valley Police released a statement this afternoon which stated: “The Force would like to reassure communities that all reports of shoplifting are investigated - regardless of the value of goods stolen. In cases in which there is an immediate threat, such as a shoplifter becoming violent, the public can be assured that officers will be there for who need help.”

John Hannett – Usdaw General Secretary says: “This is a very welcome clarification. 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 do 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 and the fastest growing trade union with over 435,000 members. Membership has increased by more than 10% 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.

Results of the Usdaw’s survey, based on 2,805 responses, show that over the last 12 months 50% were verbally abused and 29% were threatened. 8% have been assaulted, with 32% not reporting the incident.

Thames Valley Police statement: http://www.thamesvalley.police.uk/newsevents/newsevents-pressreleases/newsevents-pressreleases-item.htm?id=350502

The telegraph - Police tell town they will not chase shoplifters who steal less than £100: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/03/10/police-tell-town-will-not-chase-shoplifters-steal-less-100/

For Usdaw press releases visit: www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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The official website of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers