As Usdaw launches Freedom From Fear survey, it says government must act on retail crime

Usdaw Freedom From FearTwo hundred and forty one shopworkers are assaulted every day, according to a new survey by Usdaw.

The union today launches the results of its Freedom From Fear survey, which tracks the levels of violence, threats and abuse against shopworkers.

In a survey of more than 5,000 retail staff from across the UK, the results have shown that in the last twelve months on average 241 shopworkers are assaulted every day. The survey also reveals that 33% of shopworkers were threatened by customers and over half were verbally abused.

Usdaw general secretary John Hannett said: “Our survey shows that life on the frontline of retail can be pretty tough for many shopworkers and there is still a lot to do to help protect them.

“We have released our survey results on the same day that the British Retail Consortium has published their Retail Crime Survey. Both show the levels of offences have remained pretty steady from last year, which is little comfort for our members on the receiving end of violence and abuse. A worrying aspect of the BRC report is the increase in the value of shop theft, because all too often these incidents can lead to the criminal assaulting or abusing shop staff.

“Both surveys show that retail crime remains too high and there needs to be action to protect shopworkers. On four occasions, in the current Parliament, the government has defeated amendments to their own legislation that would have provided stiffer penalties for those who assault shopworkers.

“It is time for the government to act. Crime in shops remains steady and is not coming down in line with the overall levels crime. Retail staff have a crucial role in our communities and that role must be valued and respected.”

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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