Workers in the wholesale sector will be protected by new legislation, following campaigning by the Federation of Wholesale Distributors (FWD).

An amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill, put forward by Conservative MP James Cleverely, changed the scope of the legislation to include “premises used mainly for the purposes of the wholesale of anything” which covers staff in this sector. Previously, wholesale staff did not fall into the scope of the proposed legislation despite crimes in the sector rising 30% in the past three years.

The Bill has completed the first part of its report stage and Third Reading, with another session due to take place on 4 June which will allow further amendments. It will then move onto the House of Lords before Royal Assent.

Head of engagement and crime lead at the FWD Lyndsey Cambridge welcomed the amendment. “This is a huge win for the sector,” she said. “The inclusion of wholesale within the retail worker definition was vital in order to prevent a displacement of crime moving from the high street and into industrial estates as offenders realise these workers fall out of scope of the new stand-alone retail worker offence.”

Cambridge highlighted the importance of protecting staff at all levels of the supply chain.

“We gave evidence to the Home Office Select Committee last month, highlighting violence against wholesale workers. As a critical link in the food and drink supply chain, the wholesale sector is uniquely vulnerable to crime, from depots to distribution. The legislation will protect those working for a wholesaler in a cash and carry setting. The wording of the amendment also states that retail premises includes a “vehicle”. We are seeking clarification that this clause indicates that delivery drivers are also in scope.”