BRC call on Gov to copy Scottish worker abuse law

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has called on the Government to bring sentences for those who assault shop workers into line with Scotland.

The news comes as the Protection of Workers Act, which makes abusing retail workers a standalone offense, comes into play today in Scotland.

The law was passed unanimously in the Scottish Parliament and enforces tougher sentences for perpetrators of abuse.

In July, the BRC called on the Prime Minister - in conjunction with 100 retail bosses including senior executives of brands such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Aldi, and Ikea – to crackdown on worker abuse before it is “allowed to get any worse.”
The number of violent or abusive incidents against retail workers rose to 455 a day between April 1 2019 and 31 March 31 2020 according to the BRC, in comparison with 424 in the previous year.

“Retail workers in Dundee are now better protected than those in Doncaster,” said Helen Dickinson chief executive at the BRC. “It is incomprehensible that despite Holyrood’s decisive action, the UK Government has so far failed to provide the same protections to shop workers in the rest of the UK.”

She added: “Too often I hear stories of people working in retail being stabbed by syringes, threatened with weapons, spat or coughed on - Government must take this issue seriously.

“While victims are left traumatised, perpetrators roam free, with most crimes going unprosecuted.”

Labour’s shadow Home Office minister Sarah Jones said: “Ministers must listen to workers on the front line who are saying loud and clear that abuse must not be part of the job. Labour has called for a new standalone offence with a 12-month prison sentence for abuse, threats, and violence against retail workers.”

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