A consultation on the creation of a new shop workers bill in Scotland, designed to protect staff with new offences, has been welcomed by members of the public and industry officials.

More than 90% of those who responded to the consultation, put forward by MSP Daniel Johnson, supported measures to create new offences to deter harassment, abuse and violence against staff who are enforcing age restrictions.

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has welcomed the widespread support for the bill. In its submission to the consultation, the ACS outlined its support for the proposed bill and the creation of a new statutory offence for attacks on shopworkers triggered by asking customers for proof of age or denying sale of age-restricted products.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We fully support the creation of a new offence to deter people from committing violence or abuse against shop workers that are upholding the law by refusing to sell age restricted products.

“Abuse against retailers’ and their staff in any context is unacceptable, but we need clarity in legislation to ensure that those who attack, threaten or harass people working in stores are dealt with seriously and consistently.”

The ACS’ 2018 Crime Report found that challenging shop thieves is the number one trigger for violence against staff. Enforcing an age restricted sales policy or refusing to serve drunks was also found to be a top cause for aggressive or abusive behaviour.