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Government crime report confirms Usdaw findings on the scale of violence, threats and abuse against shopworkers

Date: 30 March 2022 A Home Office report has found that attacks against shopworkers significantly increased during the pandemic, with high levels of verbal abuse, threats and violence. This is in line with the findings in Usdaw’s own survey and the Association of Convenience Stores’ annual crime report.
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “It is shocking that shopworkers suffered increased abuse from customers, with far too many experiencing threats and violence. The scale of the problem has been clearly set out in Usdaw’s annual survey, this Home Office report and the ACS annual crime report. They show that there is still much to do to make retail workplaces safer.
 
“Worryingly our own surveying of Usdaw members shows that around half are not confident that reporting these issues will make any difference. So the Government’s move to toughen sentencing for those who assault workers in England and Wales is welcome, after years of resistance. We are closely monitoring the effectiveness of this initiative and, along with retailers and the police, promoting these new legal protections. Importantly we are encouraging members to report incidents. Our message is clear, report it to sort it.”

“Faced with such appallingly high levels of violence and abuse and so many shopworkers lacking confidence in the system providing the protection they need, the Government must ensure that retail employers, police and the courts work together to make stores safe.”
 
Notes for editors:
 
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with around 360,000 members. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemical industry and other trades.
 
Home Office Crime against businesses: findings from the 2021 Commercial Victimisation Survey: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/crime-against-businesses-findings-from-the-year-ending-march-2021-commercial-victimisation-survey/crime-against-businesses-findings-from-the-2021-commercial-victimisation-survey
 
Usdaw annual survey of nearly 3,500 retail staff shows that in the last twelve months: 90% have experienced verbal abuse; 64% were threatened by a customer; 12% were assaulted, and 61% said they were not confident that reporting abuse, threats and violence will make a difference. Full results: www.usdaw.org.uk/FFFsurvey2021
 
ACS Crime Report 2022: https://www.acs.org.uk/sites/default/files/acs_crime_report_2022_0.pdf
 
Amendment 84 to the Police, Crime Sentencing and Courts Bill – Lords Hansard 15 December 2021: https://hansard.parliament.uk/lords/2021-12-15/debates/28547EAD-5F85-4D84-AC8E-1A19CC359B20/PoliceCrimeSentencingAndCourtsBill#contribution-8416AF16-070D-409D-B0EC-0C373BC7A3F3
 
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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