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Violence and Abuse towards Shop Staff: Call for Evidence

Volume 678: debated on Tuesday 7 July 2020

Today the Government have published their formal response to the call for evidence on violence and abuse toward shop staff. The Government recognise that the violence and abuse shop workers face can have a significant impact, not only physically but mentally and emotionally.

The Government launched a call for evidence in April 2019 on violence and abuse towards shop staff to understand the scale of the issue, the measures which may help prevent these crimes and the extent to which existing legislation is being used to tackle them; and to identify examples of best practice. I want to emphasise that violence and abuse of shop staff is unacceptable and must not be tolerated, and we will work towards tackling these crimes. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the retail sector who have during the coronavirus pandemic worked tirelessly to keep the nation fed while implementing social distancing measures to keep the public safe.

In light of the responses to the call for evidence, the Government recognise that there are issues which need to be dealt with in an evidence-based manner with the support and involvement of the sector. Therefore, I have begun work with the National Retail Crime Steering Group, which we co-chair with the British Retail Consortium, to jointly develop and deliver a programme of work to drive down abuse and violence, with three key aims:

Deepen our understanding and address the drivers of violence and assault against shop worker;

Send a clear message that such crimes are not tolerated and should be recorded whenever and wherever they take place;

Provide effective support to those shop workers who are the victims of violence and abuse.

In delivering these priorities we will work with partners, including the Welsh Government, to ensure that plans are tailored and effective. The call for evidence generated a high level of interest and the Government would like to thank all those who took part and for the work they have contributed. The evidence and comments received has been vital in helping develop a better understanding of the issue. I wish to be clear that this is only the beginning of the process, rather than the conclusion as further work is needed to deliver an evidence-based response to these crimes.

The “Government Response to the Call for Evidence on Violence and Abuse Toward Shop Staff” will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.