The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) is calling on the government to introduce new protections for shop workers in the UK.

The ACS is backing David Hanson MP’s amendment to the Offensive Weapons Bill which would provide additional protection for shop workers who are abused or suffer violent attacks when refusing sales of corrosive substances and knives to under 18s.

However, the amendment does not cover other age restricted products. The ACS is calling for the amendment - New Clause 1 and New Clause 14 - to be extended so that it would be an offence for intentionally obstructing a shop worker enforcing any age restrictions, including for products such as alcohol and tobacco.

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 are calling on the government to do more to protect retailers and their store colleagues from violence and abuse by introducing tougher penalties for offenders.

“The government relies on retailers and store colleagues to up hold the law, so we want back up from police and the criminal justice system to send a clear message that violence and verbal abuse is not acceptable and will be acted on.” 

The Bill amendment coincides with the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers’ ‘Respect for Shopworkers’ Week (12th-18th November), a campaign for more support for shop workers in the face of violence and abuse.

The ACS is also calling on retailers to share their experiences of retail crime over the last 12 months as part of the annual ACS Crime Survey 2019.

The survey looks at the impact that crime is having on retailers’ businesses, including the number of incidents, the cost to their business and the measures retailers have in place to prevent crime in their stores.

The survey can be found here.