BRC welcomes call for new retail violence criminal offense

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has welcomed a new report on retail violence from the Home Affairs Select Committee, which calls on the government to urgently consult on a new criminal offense.

The trade union for the retail industry said that it has long been calling for a new statutory offence for abusing, threatening or assaulting a retail worker.

The BRC claimed that an offense would impose tougher penalties on perpetrators and send a clear message that these incidents will not be tolerated.

“Shop workers have suffered for far too long - according to our latest Crime Survey, violence and abuse is on the rise with over 450 incidents of violence and abuse every day, despite retailers spending record sums of £1.2 billion on crime prevention,” said Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium (BRC.) “Staff have been verbally and violently assaulted, as well as spat at and coughed on for challenging shoplifters, enforcing age-restricted sales and implementing coronavirus safety measures.”

Dickinson said that the government has repeatedly rejected numerous calls to protect retail workers through the creation of a specific offence.

“We hope this report will prompt the Government to finally do what is necessary to protect retail staff from harm across the country and stop dragging its feet – this could be achieved through an amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which is currently going through parliament," added the chief exec.

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