UK retail worker protection law from abuse comes into force

89% of employees who work in convenience stores alone have faced abuse at their job in the past year

New legislation has been passed to protect all retail employees across the UK from abuse after a record high was reached during the pandemic.

More than 35,000 incidents of violence have occurred in the past year at convenience stores, figures show.

Registration to our NationalWorld Today newsletter

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act introduced tougher penalties for customers who assault store employees.

Under the new law, abuse against individuals serving the public has become a more serious crime, and the law was approved by the royal family on April 28.

How are retail employees often abused?

Abuse levels hit new highs during the pandemic.

Figures from the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) Crime Report 2022 show that in the past year, 89% of employees working in convenience stores have faced abuse on the job.

More than 35,000 violent incidents took place.

More than 16,000 incidents including the use of weapons.

A poll conducted by ACS found that more than a third of consumers have witnessed violence and abuse by store employees.

What caused the abuse against the store staff?

Needs to encourage mask wearing and maintain social distancing rules during the pandemic have caused a massive increase in abuse, intimidation, and violence during the shutdown.

Co-op was one of the first chains to speak out after the retailer received a spike in employee complaints.

The Co-op says it has recorded a 140% increase in criminal activity, with more than 200,000 of those cases including violent or nonviolent theft.

Co-op retail owner Jo Whitfield said: “Colleagues were terrorized with axes and physically punched.

Another person was hospitalized with a punctured lung and broken ribs after being attacked by three thieves with more than a £10 bottle of brandy.

“The problem is not the Co-op, or a retailer – it’s a society,” she added.

Rival Icelandic grocer has recorded 650 cases of verbal abuse and 30 cases of physical assault due to customers refusing to comply with Covid’s rules during the same period.

“The vast majority of continued violence is related to theft,” a spokesman said.

Andrew Opie at the British Retail Consortium said: “Sadly, this [enforcement of face coverings] has resulted in a sharp increase in incidents of violence and abuse against store employees, which is why police need to support the work being done by retailers. “

What has been said about the new law?

ACS CEO James Lowman said the legislation was “strongly welcomed” because the retail sector had been calling for it for years.

“It is essential that penalties for assaulting a store employee are an effective deterrent,” he said.

“Putting out tougher sentences for attackers who provide services to the public, including store owners, marks a significant step forward, but by itself does not solve the problem. ”

Mr Lowman added: “We need to make sure abuse is not considered part of the job and that all incidents are reported.

“We must also put in place the right interventions to prevent people addicted to drugs and alcohol from re-offending.”

National Retail Federation National President Narinder Randhawa said: “Attacks against store owners and their employees have been on the rise for a number of years, so I’m glad we now have. are being protected by the law just like other ordinary workers.

“Being verbally or physically assaulted while just going about your day-to-day business should not be tolerated and considered part of the job.”

Mr Randhawa added: “It is important now that the police and Crown Prosecution Service work together to ensure this new law is an effective deterrent and not just a piece of paper.

“It is essential that retailers report all incidents to highlight the scale of the problem and the police response to improve if retail crime is initiated.” UK retail worker protection law from abuse comes into force


Hung is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Hung joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

Related Articles

Back to top button