The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has backed a proposed bill designed to protect shop workers from violence with the creation of new offences.

Launched by Edinburgh Southern MSP Daniel Johnson (pictured centre) earlier this year, a consultation on the proposals looked at how new offences could deter harassment, abuse and violence against store staff, triggered by shop workers asking customers for proof of age or denying the sale of age-restricted products.

In its submission to the consultation, which closed on Friday (20 April), the ACS outlined its support for the Bill and and the creation of a new statutory offence for attacks on shopworkers who are enforcing age restrictions. 

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We fully support the creation of a new offence to deter people from committing violence or abuse against shopworkers 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.”

In its 2018 Crime Report, the ACS estimated that 13,437 incidents of violence took place in the UK convenience sector in the last year.

The same report found that 39% of these incidents resulted in injury of a retailer or a staff member. Specifically in Scotland, 57% of independent retailers have stated that they have experienced verbal or physical abuse in the past year.

The full consultation is available on the Scottish Parliment website