John Hannett – Usdaw General Secretary says: “Theft from shops can often be a trigger for violence, threats and abuse against shopworkers, so the rising trend in shoplifting is extremely worrying for our members. Is this a consequence of the Conservative seven-year record on retail crime? Since 2010 there are 20,000 fewer police, shoplifting is rising, but fewer shop thieves going to court.
“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. A number of police forces have said that funding cuts mean they’re less likely to investigate theft from shops and there is evidence that overuse of fixed penalty notices is letting thieves get away with it. Is the Government giving a green light to theft from shops? Leaving our members further exposed verbal abuse, threats and physical violence against shopworkers.
“Life on the frontline of retail can be pretty tough for many shopworkers, there needs to be government action to protect them. The police must have the resources from Government to respond to incidents and investigate shop thefts. We want the Government to legislate for stiffer sentences for the thugs that attack shopworkers.
“Around 265 shopworkers are assaulted every day and it is time to say enough is enough. We want to see retailers, police and the courts working in partnership to ensure better protection for shopworkers. Retail staff are an important part of our communities; their role must be valued, respected and protected.”
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with over 430,000 members. Membership has increased by more than 28% over the 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.
Interim results of the Usdaw’s 2017 survey, based on 1,455 responses, show that over the last 12 months: 62.34% were verbally abused (an increase of 25%), 40.49% were threatened (an increase of 38%) and 3.23% were assaulted (an increase of 25%), which equals 265 per day. 56.11% had not reported an incident of abuse and 21.79% of shopworkers physically attacked did not report the assault. 79.91% say there needs to be a change in the law to provide better protection for shopworkers. The final results of the 2017 survey will be published in due course.
Police recorded crimes in England and Wales for year ending September 2017: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/bulletins/crimeinenglandandwales/yearendingseptember2017
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion