Usdaw calls for action as assaults on shopworkers increase by 40%

usdaw-freedom-from-fearUsdaw general secretary John Hannett has called for action to prevent violence threats and abuse against shopworkers as the British Retail Consortium (BRC) reveals a 40% increase in incidents of violence and abuse against retail staff.

Data collected by the BRC shows that the human cost of retail crime is growing, with a 40% increase in offences involving abuse or violence against shopworkers; rising from 41 to 51 per 1,000 shopworkers during 2016.

Results from Usdaw’s annual survey of shopworkers show that half of shopworkers were verbally abused in the last year and 29% were threatened with violence. 8% have been assaulted, but worryingly a third of them did not report to their employer a violent attack by a customer.

John Hannett said: “All too often shopworkers encounter violence, threats and abuse for simply doing their job. So this latest survey from the British Retail Consortium is very worrying.

“Life on the frontline of retail can be pretty tough for many shopworkers and there is still a lot to do to help protect them. We launched our Freedom From Fear Campaign in the face of growing concerns amongst retail workers about violence, threats and abuse. The campaign works with retailers to promote respect and make workplaces safer for staff and customers alike.

“All too often criminals who assault staff are not even sent to court, and those who are can receive derisory sentences. In other cases, where the offender often isn’t charged at all victims are left feeling that no one cares that they were assaulted.

“Retail crime remains too high and there needs to be action to protect shopworkers. It is time for the government to act by providing stiffer penalties for those who assault shopworkers. Retail staff have a crucial role in our communities and that role must be valued and respected.”

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