Last reviewed 22 July 2021

We have reported in recent months on incidences of physical and verbal attacks on shop staff during the pandemic (see Customers urged to help keep shop workers safe).

Now 100 of the UK’s leading retailers have decided to take the issue to the top and have written to the Prime Minister calling on him to support an amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill that would tackle escalating violence and abuse against retail workers.

The letter follows a recent Home Affairs Select Committee report, available here, which concluded that a new criminal offence is needed to protect retail workers from a “shocking upsurge in violence and abuse”.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) letter been signed by the chief executives of a wide range of household name firms including Dunelm, Marks & Spencer, Matalan, Lidl, John Lewis, Pets at Home and Tesco.

It can be found at https://brc.org.uk/media/677972/pm-ceo-crime-letter-july-21-final.pdf and argues that there is now a clear need for better protection in law for retail workers.

BRC chief executive, Helen Dickinson, said: “Retail workers are facing violence and abuse every day just for doing their jobs — keeping customers safe during the pandemic, checking ID, and confronting shoplifters. Behind each of these statistics is a person, a family, colleagues and communities that have to cope with this trauma.”

No-one should go to work fearing for their safety, she concluded, yet many retail workers have come to see it as part of the job.