Minister for Crime makes plans to protect shop workers from acts of violence

Victoria Atkins, the Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability, is now examining options for providing further protections for shop workers from acts of violence and abuse. The Government’s Call for Evidence – issued by the Home Office – is intended to help strengthen the evidence base and look at all options for addressing these crimes.

Chairing a meeting of the National Retail Crime Steering Group, which includes members such as the British Retail Consortium and the Association of Convenience Stores, Atkins discusses proposals for a Call for Evidence. These include how to protect retail workers from abuse and violence that often occur from age-restricted sales, such as cigarettes and alcohol.

The Home Office’s Commercial Victimisation Survey estimated that, in 2017, workers from the wholesale and retail sector were victim to around 510,000 incidents of assaults and threats, more than twice the number recorded in 2016 (at 203,000 incidents).

The National Retail Crime Steering Group brings Government, the police and industry together to improve the response to crimes affecting the sector, including assaults and theft. In the latest meeting, the Steering Group focused exclusively on the response to violence and abuse directed towards shop workers.

“No-one should be subject to violence and abuse in their workplace,” asserted Atkins. “I have every sympathy for retail staff who’ve been the victims of these appalling acts just for doing their jobs. It’s vitally important to tackle this issue. The latest meeting of the National Retail Crime Steering Group rightly focused solely on violence and abuse toward shop staff in order to understand what more we can do to protect those in the industry.”

James Lowman, CEO of the Association of Convenience Stores, responded: “The safety of people working in shops is our foremost priority and we’re absolutely determined that our work with the Home Office must deliver lasting change and safer shops. This includes securing a strong response from the police and criminal justice system to ensure offenders are brought to justice and send a clear message that violence against shop workers is not acceptable.”

The Home Office will provide £50,000 worth of funding for a sector-led communications campaign to raise awareness of the wide-ranging offences perpetrated against staff in the retail environment.

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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