“No one should go to work in fear”, says Catherine McKinnell MP in call for action to combat retail violence and abuse

Newcastle North MP, Catherine McKinnell, has signed the Shopworkers’ Protection Pledge, vowing to stand with retail staff and support legislation to better protect shopworkers from violence and abuse.

Violence and abuse of shopworkers remains a serious concern, with hundreds of shopworkers suffering every day according to data from the British Retail Consortium.

The retail industry spends over £1.2 billion per year on crime prevention, yet, every day, there are over 400 incidents of violence and abuse against retail staff. Common triggers include challenging shoplifters, enforcing age restricted sales and implementing social distancing and other coronavirus safety measures.

Recognising the serious impact that such crimes has on staff, their colleagues, and their families, Catherine is committed to finding ways to end this scourge on local communities. She has given her support to the BRC pledge to champion shopworkers in her constituency and:

  • Recognise the serious impact that violence and abuse has on shopworkers and the local communities they serve.
  • Stand with retail workers to support legislation to better protect them.

The pledge includes calls for tougher penalties for attacks on shopworkers through the creation of a specific criminal offence.

Catherine said:
“No one should go to work in fear, and so the level of violence and abuse against retail workers going about their job is extremely worrying. 

“These are people who selflessly put themselves on the frontline during the height of the pandemic in order to ensure everyone had access to necessities. Current measures in places are clearly not working and more must be done to deter criminals. We need to do all we can to ensure no one faces violence or abuse in the workplace, and I will support legislation to protect retail staff in Newcastle and across the country.”  

Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said:
“Every day, hundreds of hardworking retail staff are subjected to violence or abuse in their place of work. These incidents leave physical and emotional scars, and affect not only the victim, but also their families, colleagues, and communities. Sadly, existing law, meant to protect these workers, is not fit for purpose, and many of these heinous crimes continue to go unpunished. 

“We are calling on MPs from all parties to come together and sign the Shopworkers Protection Pledge. On behalf of the three million people who work in retail; their families and their communities, there is one simple message: doing nothing is not an option.”