Labour’s Luke Pollard, Parliamentary Candidate for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, has called on the Government to give greater protection to shop workers in Plymouth who are threatened with violence
Last year 4% of retail staff across the country were attacked at work and 34% were threatened with violence. Shop workers in Plymouth also reported violence and threats of violence according to local union, USDAW.
Currently these kinds of assaults are sentenced under Common Assault guidelines. Under these guidelines it is an aggravating factor to assault a public sector worker. However, this does not apply to the thousands of people working in the private sector in Plymouth who are threatened with violence at work.
Yesterday (Tuesday, October 15) the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill returned to the House of Commons. The Government blocked a Labour amendment which would have introduced a specific additional offence of assaulting a worker serving the public.
Labour’s Luke Pollard is calling on the Government to protect all public facing workers in Plymouth both those in the public and private sector, and asking them to introduce simpler and stiffer sentencing guidelines to deter people from committing a crime in the first place.
Luke told the PRSD: “The thousands of people who work in shops, cafes, restaurants and petrol stations in Plymouth need to feel safe at work and they need to feel adequately protected.
“Hardworking people deserve the same protection from violence whether they work in the public or the private sector and suggesting otherwise just shows how out of touch this Government is.
“Being threatened with violence while you do your job is completely unacceptable wherever you work. That is why I am calling on the Tory-led Government to make sure the same sentencing guidelines apply if you are threatened with violence at work in the public or private sector.”
John Hannett, Usdaw general secretary added: “We are grateful to Labour candidates like Luke Pollard who support our campaign to keep our members safe at work.
“Often, in the course of their duties, shopworkers are expected to enforce the law, whether that is preventing under-age purchases or detaining shoplifters until the police arrive, they can be put in real danger.
“I have been shocked by the leniency of some of the sentencing for assault of workers. What we are seeking is a simplification and clarification of the process, by taking the assault of workers out of a list of aggravating factors and creating a separate and distinct offence. This will provide clarity to the public and ensure that the offence is properly considered by the courts.”
(from a press release)