Violence against store workers rockets

VIOLENCE and abuse against shop staff soared last year, according to figures set to be debated at the Scottish Parliament today.

The Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW) has secured the support of Hugh Henry MSP, who will lead the debate on its Freedom from Fear campaign to make shops safer for staff and customers.

The latest UK Crime Survey showed physical violence rose 58 per cent and verbal abuse by 37 per cent on last year.

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At least 22,000 retail employees suffered threats, physical or verbal attacks and the actual figure is probably much higher as a good deal of abuse goes unreported.

The Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) said it supports the protection of vulnerable shop workers.

Ian Shearer, Scottish Retail Consortium Director, said: "It's good to see MSPs from different parties helping to highlight the increasing number of incidents retail staff are forced to deal with. They put themselves in the front line to serve their communities and support policies, such as preventing under-age sales.

"Retail crime must be taken more seriously. Violence and abuse against retail staff should never be regarded as "part of the job". The Scottish justice system already offers the option of significant punishments to deter retail crime. These existing powers must be fully utilised."