A new bill tabled in Parliament aims to protect retail workers who sell age-restricted products.

Labour MP Alex Norris, who proposed the Assaults on Retail Workers (Offences) Bill, told ministers that retail staff who police the age of restricted items such as alcohol and knives need extra legal protections, and that those choosing to attack retail workers should face “greater punishment”.

“Anyone assaulted while doing their job should be afforded all protections of the law and I believe what sets retail workers apart is that they have been entrusted with a really important civic responsibility that goes above and beyond their duties and responsibility to their employer,” the MP said.

“I think that as a legislature we should be acutely aware of this, because we are the people who gave these workers these extra responsibilities and we’re the ones effectively asking them to police the law on the sale of alcohol, knives, glues and now acid on behalf of us all.”

Figures from the Association of Convenience Stores’ crime report show that enforcing an age-restricted policy is one of the top three triggers of abuse and violence against people working in convenience stores. 

Welcoming the bill, ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Convenience store colleagues are on the front line enforcing the law on age restricted products, and should not feel threatened for doing their job.

“We welcome the Assaults on Retail Workers Bill and encourage MPs from across the House to support its passage through parliament to become law.”

The Private Members’ Bill has been listed for a second reading on November 23.