Nottinghamshire police chief backs call to protect shopworkers from abuse
Shopworkers in Nottinghamshire should be given more protection against abusive customers following a rise in incidents during the Covid-19 pandemic, says the county’s police chief.
The final results of retail trade union Usdaw's 2020 survey of 2,729 shopworkers across the UK found that 88 per cent experienced verbal abuse, six per cent were threatened by a customer and nine per cent were assaulted.
Now Paddy Tipping, police and crime commissioner for Nottinghamshire, is backing the union’s campaign for a new law to protect retail workers.
"I wholeheartedly support this campaign. Retail workers play a crucial role in our communities and this has been demonstrated throughout the pandemic when, as keyworkers, they put their own safety at risk to serve others,” he said.
"The fact that assaults have doubled during this period is shocking and warrants urgent attention.
"Retail workers provide a public service and deserve respect and appreciation for what they do. It is simply unacceptable that any of them should face abuse while performing their job.
"I would encourage employers to support this awareness week and give staff the confidence to speak out and report abuse. Any shop worker who feels threatened, intimidated or is assaulted by a customer should report the matter to police for full investigation."
Paddy Lillis, Usdaw general secretary, said action was desperately needed to protect shopworkers.
"Our latest survey results clearly show the scale of the appalling violence, threats and abuse faced by shopworkers and demonstrate the need for a ‘protection of shopworkers' law,” he said.
"It has been a terrible year for our members, with almost 90 per cent of shopworkers suffering abuse, two-thirds threatened and nearly one in 10 assaulted.
"We are saying loud and clear that enough is enough, abuse should never be part of the job.
"The UK Government has persistently opposed new legislation, offering little more than sympathy and objecting to the Alex Norris protection of shopworkers bill in the House of Commons.
"However, we had a great result for our members in the Scotland, as MSPs voted through ground-breaking legislation to give shopworkers the protection they deserve. We are now looking for MPs to support key workers across the retail sector and help turn around the UK Government's opposition."