The NFRN has long called for tougher penalties for shop theft offences and the creation of a specific offence for assault of a retail worker in a public facing role.

Retail staff continue to suffer an unprecedented level of violence and abuse in their workplace, which for a large proportion of NFRN members, is also their home. The interim results of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW) “Freedom From Fear” survey show that over the past year, almost two-thirds of shop workers were verbally abused, 40 per cent were threatened and approximately 250 retail staff were victims of violent assaults every single day.

A 2017 survey commissioned by Under Age Sales, the USDAW shop workers’ union and the NFRN revealed that 50% of store workers in Scotland encounter verbal or physical abuse at least once a year due to asking customers for their I.D when purchasing age-restricted products. The number of incidents of robbery and attempted robbery of small retailers is increasing across the whole of the United Kingdom, and incidents of theft in Scotland have risen to 28,650 in 2016-17.

We therefore welcome and wholeheartedly support the Protection of Workers Bill, launched today (22 January 2018) by Daniel Johnson MSP. The Bill would create new offences regarding the assault of shop-workers and others, who are involved in the sale and supply of age-restricted products.

Daniel Johnson MSP, Labour Edinburgh Southern, said: “Today, I am pleased to be launching the consultation for a bill which will provide additional protection to workers. The issue of violence and abuse against workers continues to grow, and many workers have told me that they now see it as just part of the job. My bill aims to provide legislative solutions, by creating new offences for those who assault or abuse workers … I would encourage anyone who can to contribute to the consultation at www.notpartofthejob.com and have their say on how we can protect workers.”

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