Following a roundtable meeting on violence and abuse against shopworkers, Home Office Minister Victoria Atkins MP has written saying: “The Government intends to announce the following package when the Offensive Weapons Bill enters Committee stage in the House of Lords:
- A call for evidence on violence and abuse towards shopworkers to help ensure we fully understand this issue and consider all options for addressing it.
- Funding for the sector to run targeted communications activity to raise awareness of the existing legislation in place to protect shop workers.
- Refreshing the work of the National Retail Crime Steering Group on violent crime.”
The Offensive Weapons Bill tightens the law on the sale of corrosive substances and knives in response to a significant increase in acid attacks and stabbings. Usdaw is calling on the Government to support amendments to the Bill that will provide greater protection for shopworkers who will enforce the new law at the point of sale. It is expected that the House of Lords Committee Stage will be taken on Monday.
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says:
“Our proposals for the protection of shopworkers have received cross-party support for from Peers and MPs, so we hoped the Government would support new legislation. While their offer is a step in the right direction, we are still hoping that Peers will support amendments to the Offensive Weapons Bill as it goes through the House of Lords.
“Shopworkers will play a vital role in policing the sale of knives and corrosive substances, as they already do on the sale of alcohol and other age-restricted products. Yet they are offered no additional protection under the law and shopworkers can be treated like criminals if a mistake is made at the point of sale.
“It is absolutely right that we do everything possible to stem the scourge of knife crime and acid attacks. Shopworkers are on the frontline of achieving that and helping to keep our communities safe. Their role should be valued, they deserve our respect, but most of all they deserve the protection of the law.”
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers)
is the UK's fifth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with around 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.
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news
and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion