Home Office minister Victoria Atkins has promised to respond to calls to protect retail staff from violent crime.
Atkins, who is minister for crime, safeguarding and vulnerability, attended a summit with retail representative bodies and trade unions, agreeing to provide a detailed response to an amendment tabled to the Offensive Weapons Bill before it proceeds to the House of Lords.
The amendment, by David Hanson MP, aims for tougher sanctions for attacks on shopworkers who are “intentionally obstructed” in exercising their duties.
Hanson said: “I was pleased that I was able to secure this meeting with the Home Office minister. It is of the utmost importance that the rights and safety of shopworkers are made known at the highest levels in government and this meeting was an important step along that journey.
“The rise in violence against retail staff has been shockingly dramatic in the last two years. According to Usdaw’s, the shopworkers trade union, figures 59% of retail staff saying that he faced verbal abuse and 11% have been assaulted. The UK government needs to take this issue seriously and undertake a full and thorough investigation in creating a new aggravated offence against retail workers.
“The minister has promised to provide a detailed response before the Offensive Weapons Bill proceeds to the House of Lords. If she fails to accept a review into this matter I will reintroduce my amendment in the Lords and push this matter to a vote.”