Delegates were keen to point out that this is not the fault of police officers, but the result of eight years of austerity. The debate took place with the background of a near 30% increase in police reported incidents of shoplifting and Usdaw’s annual survey showing significant increases in violence, threats and abuse against shopworkers since 2016.
Addressing delegates at the Usdaw Annual Delegate Meeting in Blackpool’s Winter gardens, Paddy Lillis - General Secretary said:
“Too much of our society is blighted by crime not being tackled, whether that is anti-social in our neighbourhoods, or unacceptable abuse and violence against retail workers and other workers just trying to do their job.
“Recorded crime is rising at the fastest rate in a decade. Last year, there were over 6 million incidents of crime in England and Wales alone. Our latest Freedom From Fear survey shows that the rise in crime figures is mirrored in the increases in abuse and assaults to shopworkers.
“Since 2010, £2.7 billion has been cut from policing budgets, leaving huge holes in funding and a reduction of police officers up and down the country. We now have 21,000 fewer police officers than 10 years ago. The extra police funding the Government has pledged for this year is just a drop in the ocean, a small fraction of the cuts to the police since 2010 and not enough to repair the damage done over the years.
“Law and order is fundamental to a free, civilised and democratic society. It is vital that police services are funded properly.”
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 420,000 members. Membership has increased by more than one-third over the last couple of decades. 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