Picture: Home Office Minister Victoria Atkins MP with NFRN Head of Political Engagement Adrian Roper and National President Mike Mitchelson
Having shared its members’ concerns about the safety of shop owners and their staff – especially when selling age restricted products – with the Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability, the NFRN has welcomed Victoria Atkins’ announcement of a package of measures to tackle violence against retailers.
Mrs Atkins’ three prong approach followed a top level industry summit on retail crime that took place in London on December 11 and was attended by the NFRN, USDAW and other stakeholders.
In a letter to attendees this week, Mrs Atkins said she had “enormous sympathy for shop workers who, in their endeavours to enforce the law, can face intimidation, threats and, in some cases, violence”.
Her package, which is to be introduced when the offensive weapons bill that is currently before parliament reaches Committee Stage in the House of Lords, includes a call for evidence on violence and abuse towards shop workers; funding to raise awareness of existing legislation in place to protect shop workers; and refreshing the work of the National Retail Crime Steering Group to focus exclusively on violence and abuse.
Responding to the announcement, NFRN National President Mike Mitchelson said: “Far too many retailers experience verbal and physical abuse on a daily basis and this unacceptable situation is something that we, at the NFRN, have been trying to raise awareness of for some time.
“We are pleased to see that our political lobbying is bearing fruit and that the government is now taking notice of the NFRN’s concerns about the abuse that shop owners and their staff suffer while serving behind the counter.
“It is equally pleasing that the National Retail Crime Steering Group on violent crime is to hold a special session to look into violence and crime toward shop workers.
“The NFRN looks forward to seeing these measures take effect as they will better protect all retail workers and we will work closely with both Mrs Atkins and the Home Office to deliver a safer working environment for shop owners and their staff.”