Offences against retail staff ‘one step closer’ to tougher sentences

The House of Lords has passed the Government’s amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said the move means that those who commit violent offences against retail staff are “one step closer” to receiving tougher sentences for their crimes.

The amendment says that the courts must treat assaults committed against a person providing a public service, performing a public duty, or providing services to the public, as an aggravating factor.

The BRC’s most recent crime survey found that 455 retail workers are abused or attacked every day at work, and this number has only risen over the past 20 months since staff have had to implement Covid safety measures.

The survey also showed that only 40 per cent of retailers rated the police response to reported incidents as ‘good’ or ‘fair’, leading to many incidents not being reported to the police at all.

“We welcome the Government’s move to ensure that those who commit violent offences against retail workers receive tougher sentences for their crimes,” said Helen Dickinson, chief executive, BRC. “The Government has demonstrated that it understands the scale of violence and abuse that our colleagues face, and that it will act to protect them.

“Crime against retail staff has been rising year on year, and nobody should go to work fearing their safety. The BRC will continue to campaign on behalf of the three million retail colleagues who work tirelessly to ensure we all have access to the food and goods we need.”

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