The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has lent its support to USDAW’s Respect for Shopworkers Week, which aims to raise awareness about the increase in violence and abuse against retail workers and promote the message of respect for shopworkers.
Research from USDAW found that in the last 12 months 65% of shopworkers have experienced verbal abuse, 5% of shopworkers had been assaulted and 60% of these incidents were triggered by shop theft.
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We are proud to support Respect for Shopworkers Week, which highlights the scale of violence and abuse and the impact that it has on the people and businesses in our sector. We know from speaking to retailers that these incidents are happening on a daily basis and the perpetrators are doing so without fear of reproach. These incidents are unacceptable and more needs to be done to tackle this issue and take repeat and prolific offenders off the streets to make our communities safer.”
USDAW general secretary Paddy Lillis added: “Our survey demonstrates that shoplifting is not a victimless crime, theft from shops has long been a major flashpoint for violence and abuse against shopworkers. Having to deal with repeated and persistent shoplifters can cause issues beyond the theft itself like anxiety, fear and in some cases physical harm to retail workers. Our members are reporting that they are often faced with hardened career criminals in their stores and much of the abuse they suffer is from those who are stealing to sell goods on, often to fund an addiction.”