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Shoplifting continues to rise - Usdaw calls for Government action to cut crime and protect of shopworkers from violence, threats and abuse

Date: 18 October 2018 Shopworkers’ trade union leader Paddy Lillis has called for Government action in light of the Office for National Statistics today reporting a further increase in police recorded incidents of shoplifting in England and Wales in the year to June 2018, continuing the trend of a 32% increase over the last decade.
Usdaw’s survey of shopworkers shows a 25% increase in violence, suggesting there are over 260 assaulted every day. The British Retail Consortium reported a doubling of violence against shop staff in their annual Retail Crime Survey. The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) reported nearly a million thefts from UK convenience stores in 2017, which is a 65% increase on the previous year. ACS also found that challenging shop thieves is the most common trigger for violence and verbal abuse.
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “The idea that shoplifting is a victimless crime is wrong. Theft from shops is often a trigger for violence, threats and abuse against shopworkers, so the rising trend in shoplifting is extremely worrying for our members. The evidence from retailers, police and our own survey of shopworkers all show a disturbing increase in retail crime. This cannot be allowed to continue, action must be taken.
“We have long been concerned that theft from shops is not taken seriously and sometimes regarded as a victimless crime with only large companies affected, but the reality for shopworkers is very different. Police resources are so stretched we are now have some chief constables reporting that their officers can no longer attend theft from shops incidents and they are asking shopworkers to detain shoplifters.
“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.
“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.
Police recorded crimes in England and Wales – released 18 October 2018: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/bulletins/crimeinenglandandwales/yearendingjune2018
Usdaw's report of violence, threats and abuse against shopworkers in 2017: www.usdaw.org.uk/FFF17
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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