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Essential new laws must be followed by shoppers in supermarkets – Tesco, Asda and more

Supermarket worker airs views on Boris Johnson and cost of living

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Supermarkets such as Asda, Aldi, Tesco, Morrisons, and more are doing their part to reduce abuse against staff in their branches. This is following a rise of abuse at British supermarkets and shops since the beginning of the pandemic.

New laws have been put in place for all customers shopping at major supermarkets, as well as retailers such as Primark, Home Bargains, and TK Maxx.

The rules have been implemented to prevent customers from abusing staff while they shop.

This comes as the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act has introduced tougher punishments against shoppers who are caught flouting the rules.

Abusing a member of staff could result in a jail sentence.

The tougher penalties have been introduced due to a rise in abuse against shop workers during the pandemic.

The legislation was put in place on April 28, ad means that abuse against individuals who serve the public is now an aggravated offence.

According to figures from the Association of Convenience Stores’ (ACS) crime report last year, 89 percent of staff working in convenience stores alone have faced abuse in their job over the past year.

More than 35,000 cases of violence have taken place, and over 16,000 of these incidents have inlcuded the use of a weapon.

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Furthermore, policing carried out by the ACS showed that more than a third of customers had witnessed violence and abuse against staff in shops.

James Lowman, ACS Chief Executive, said: “We strongly welcome the introduction of this act, which the retail sector has been calling for over a number of years.

“It’s essential that the penalties for attacking a shopworker serve as an effective deterrent.

“Introducing tougher sentences for those who attack people providing a service to the public, including shopworkers, marks a significant step forward, but it does not solve the problem by itself.

“We need to ensure that abuse is not seen as part of the job and that all incidents are reported, and in response, Police and Crime Commissioners must prioritise crimes committed against retailers and their colleagues.

“We must also put the right interventions in place to stop those with substance and alcohol dependencies from reoffending.”

The National Federation of Retail Newsagents national president Narinder Randhawa added: “Attacks against store owners and their staff have been increasing for a number of years, so I am pleased that we are now being given the same protection in law as other frontline workers.

“Being attacked verbally or physically while just going about your daily business should not be tolerated and seen as part of the job.

“The important thing now is that the police and the Crown Prosecution Service work together to ensure this new law is an effective deterrent and not just a piece of paper.

“It’s essential that retailers report all incidents to highlight the scale of the problem, and the police response has to improve if retail crime is to be tackled head on.”

Covid-related rules were one of the reasons behind the rise of abuse during the pandemic.

Mask-wearing demands, for example, triggered complaints from customers – and abuse in many cases.

Co-op retail boss Jo Whitfield said: “Colleagues have been terrorised with axes and physically punched.

“Another was hospitalised with a punctured lung and broken ribs after being attacked by three shoplifters over a £10 bottle of spirits.

“The problem is not a Co-op one, or a retailer one – it is a societal one.”

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