Huw takes action to combat retail violence and protect retail staff

Huw Merriman, MP for the Bexhill and Battle constituency, has signed up to support the British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) 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 in Bexhill and Battle. Recognising the serious impact that such crimes has on staff, their colleagues, and their families, Huw is committed to finding ways to end this scourge on local communities.

Huw has signed his support to:

Pledge to champion shopworkers in my 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 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. The pledge calls for tougher penalties for attacks on shopworkers through the creation of a specific criminal offence.

Huw said:

“The level of violence and abuse against retail workers is extremely concerning and I fully support of the BRC’s Shopworkers’ Protection Pledge. I have been working closely with retailers in my constituency, like Jempsons, who have been plagued by persistent shoplifters who threaten their staff with violence and who seem to think they are above the law or have little concern about the penalties if they are caught and charged. This is completely unacceptable so I am working closely with our local police and retailers to understand what needs to be done to protect retail staff and ensure that the action taken against offenders is both a deterrent and punishment.

“Everyone has the right to feel safe in the workplace. These are the individuals who selflessly put themselves on the frontline during the height of the pandemic in order to ensure everyone had access to necessities. Abuse of retail staff and shop-lifting needs to be dealt with swiftly and effectively. Current measures in place are clearly insufficient and more must be done to deter criminals. I will support legislation to protect retail staff in my constituency and beyond.”

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.”