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ONS reports a 4% increase in theft from shops, which is very concerning for shopworkers says Usdaw

Date: 23 January 2014 Shopworkers trade union leader John Hannett is very concerned by the latest Crime Survey figures showing a 4% increase in shoplifting, particularly because this week the British Retail Consortium revealed a nine year high in shop thefts.

John Hannett - Usdaw General Secretary says: 'It is very concerning to hear that shop theft is on the increase because it is often linked to violence against retail staff. Usdaw's own survey shows an unacceptably high level of violence against shopworkers, with over 300 assaulted every day across the UK.

'Today's figures confirm the findings of the BRC from their Annual Retail Crime Survey. It is particularly concerning that shop theft is increasing when overall crime is falling. So we are looking for employers, the police and Government to work with us to make a real difference.

'One major worry is the leniency of sentencing for those who assault shopworkers. We are campaigning for a change in the law to provide stiffer sentences, by making the assault of a worker serving the public a separate offence additional to common assault.

'We were disappointed to see the Government defeat this measure in the House of Lords last week, but our campaign continues and today's figures show just how serious and widespread this problem is.'

Notes for editors:

Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fourth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with over 431,000 members. Membership has increased by more than 17% in the last five years and by nearly a third 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.

Crime Survey for England and Wales: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/crime-stats/crime-statistics/period-ending-september-2013/index.html

British Retail Consortium Annual Retail Crime Survey: http://www.brc.org.uk/brc_show_document.asp?id=4428&moid=8064

Debate on the protection of workers amendment: Lords Hansard, 14 January 2014, 6.51pm, column 165: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201314/ldhansrd/text/140114-0002.htm#140114106000491

For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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The official website of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers