Labour MP David Hanson is urging retailers to contact their local MP to support his call for tougher punishment for verbal attacks on shopworkers who deal with age-related sales. 

Hanson has made a proposed amendment to the Offensive Weapons Bill that would allow those who abuse employees when refused a sale of corrosive substances or knives to be prosecuted.

“I’m proposing a £2,500 fine if there’s proof of abuse,” he said. “Retail crime isn’t just shop-lifting or armed robberies, it’s also threats of violence, intimidation and poor behaviour.”

The amendment is set to be considered by the House of Commons next week (27 November). 

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “This would send a message about how important shopworkers and retailers are, and how unacceptable it is to abuse and attack them.”

Support for the legislation was strengthened this week as retail trade union Usdaw promoted ‘Respect for Shopworkers Week’.

A company spokesperson said: “We are constantly working with employers to help develop policies that are easily understood by staff. 

“We found in our survey this year that nearly half of shopworkers don’t report incidents because they either don’t feel it will make a difference or it’s too complicated.”

Hanson said some retailers have already implemented features to clamp down on abuse. “The Co-op records internally so it can build cases against certain individuals,” he said. “It has also introduced a headphone system to provide back-up to staff if needed. 

“These are examples independents can use, but it’s clear there’s a gap in the legislation.”

He added: “The Government has a duty to protect shopworkers. I need everyone who shares this view to contact their MP.”

Call RN on 020 7689 3357 to find out how to contact your local MP

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