Most responsible retailers
in Scotland already operate the 'Think 25' policy for sales of
alcohol and other age-restricted products, but the passing of the
Alcohol etc. (Scotland) Bill by MSP's yesterday, will now make it a
legal requirement for all licence holders to do so.
Last year over a million
shopworkers were assaulted, threatened or abused while at work and
nearly a half of all incidents of abuse resulted from shopworkers
asking customers for proof of age ID or refusing a sale of an
age-restricted product such as alcohol.
Hannett, Usdaw General Secretary said:
"Just last week we revealed
that over three-quarter of shopworkers have experienced problems
asking customers for proof of age ID and that nearly one in six
have been threatened with violence and more than 2% actually
physically assaulted. These incidents are not just the result of
youngsters trying to buy alcohol and cigarettes, they are
increasingly caused by older shoppers who are asked for ID or
refused a sale under the 'Think 25' policy."
"Usdaw supports the policy,
but most shoppers over 18 simply don't understand why they are
asked for proof of age ID and many will certainly object when a
sale is refused because they cannot produce any. We have been
calling for a UK wide campaign to make shoppers aware of the policy
to help reduce incidents, but now 'Think 25' is to be made a legal
requirement in Scotland, a major publicity campaign is absolutely
essential to help protect shopworkers."
"Scotland's shoppers need to
understand that shopworkers asking for proof of age ID are only
doing their job and protecting themselves from a possible fine,
criminal prosecution or disciplinary action from their
- Section 5 of the Alcohol etc. (Scotland) Bill amends the
Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 to make it a condition for all
licence holders to have an age verification policy in relation to
the sale of alcohol on the premises. It specifies that; "an 'age
verification policy' is a policy that steps are to be taken to
establish the age of a person attempting to buy alcohol on the
premises (the customer) if it appears to the person selling the
alcohol that the customer may be less than 25 years of age (or such
older age as may be specified in the policy)".
- Most responsible retailers already operate a 'Think 25'
policy on age-restricted sales which means shopworkers are
instructed to ask for proof of age ID from any customer the
shopworker thinks might be under 25. Many retailers previously had
a 'Think 21' policy and the change to 'Think 25' has greatly
increased the potential number of customers who are now routinely
asked for ID. As a consequence, the number of potential flashpoints
for abuse, threats and violence has also increased.
- Usdaw's age-restricted sales survey also revealed that
over 70% of shopworkers are worried about facing criminal
prosecution if they get a decision about an age-restricted sale
wrong with over 60% worried about being disciplined by their
- Shopworkers face an £80 Fixed Penalty Notice (on-the-spot
fine) for a first offence of selling alcohol to someone under-age
with a court appearance and/or fine of up to £5,000 for subsequent
offences. Most fines are in the region of £500.
- Most retailers use specialist test purchasing companies
to ensure the 'Think 25' policy is being implemented and any member
of staff who fails a test purchase could be subject to disciplinary
action including possible dismissal.
- Usdaw's annual Freedom from Fear survey revealed that
over a million shopworkers were assaulted, threatened or abused in
the past year. The survey showed that 6% of shopworkers were
subjected to violent attack, 37% were threatened with harm and a
massive 70% had suffered verbal abuse.
- For further information on Usdaw's Freedom from Fear
campaign and Respect for Shopworkers week visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/ourcampaigns/freedomfromfear.aspx
- Usdaw (the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is
the UK's fourth biggest trade union, with over 390,000 members.
Usdaw is the country's fastest growing trade union; membership has
increased by more than 15% in the last four years and by over a
quarter 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.