Convenience retailers are subjected to more than 1,800 physical attacks every day just for asking shoppers for ID.
This shocking figure was revealed in a survey carried out by Under Age Sales, an organisation designed to help retailers prevent age-restricted purchases to minors.
Under Age Sales managing director Tony Allen said approximately 6,000 verbal and physical attacks take place every single day.
It is time to delve deeper into the specific activities which trigger these reactions, and begin to place sanctions against those who commit them
Allen said only a quarter of retailers report incidents of verbal or physical abuse to the police because they believe the police aren’t interested, they fear it will affect their alcohol licence, they don’t have the time, or because they think it’s “just part of the job”.
“If you were working in any other environment – a factory, office, anywhere else – and there were 1,800 incidents of assault every day, that would be a scandal. It’s just tolerated and we don’t think it should be,” he said.
The survey also found that a third of retailers that have suffered abuse are less confident in asking for ID again, putting them at risk of prosecution by trading standards.
Along with the NFRN and trade union Usdaw, Under Age Sales has called for the Government to make it a specific offence to impede a shopworker from performing their duty.
Allen said: “While there are currently measures in place to protect retailers from general in-store violence, it is time to delve deeper into the specific activities which trigger these reactions, and begin to place sanctions against those who commit them.”
A petition has been launched to take the matter to parliament, ensure the Government takes the findings seriously and brings in stringent and stricter sentencing powers against offender.
Paul Baxter, NFRN chief executive, added: “Retailers should not be subject to this level of abuse and harassment for simply carrying out their duty as a responsible retailer. With retail crime incidents soaring, more has to be done by the police and Government before even more retailers are driven out of business.”
What retailers said:
“I was punched on the side of the head for refusing alcohol due to not having ID. I pulled the shutters down and locked them in until police arrived – I didn’t know what else to do.”
“Receiving abuse after asking for ID is a weekly occurrence for me. I’m very often told they will be waiting for me outside when I finish my shift, which is very intimidating. We are only doing our job and the implications of failing to get it right can cost us our jobs.”
“I was attacked by a boy and two girls for refusing a sale. They dragged me outside, and punched and kicked me. The boy received a verbal warning, lasting just two months.”
Support the petition to have the matter raised in parliament.