88 retail bosses, including the bosses of Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Boots, WH Smith, Aldi, Primark and Superdrug, have written to the government to press for the creation of a new UK-wide aggravated offence of assaulting or abusing a retail worker, the Guardian reported.
The new aggravated offence, as the one which already exists in Scotland, would carry tougher sentences and require police to record all incidents of retail crime and allow the allocation of more resources amid rising violent crime in retail stores.
In the letter, the retail bosses say: “The police consistently tell us that a lack of data about these offences means they have no visibility about the nature or scale of the issue.”
Helen Dickinson, the chief executive of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), which helped organise the letter to Braverman, said: “It is vital that action is taken before the scourge of retail crime gets any worse.
“We are seeing organised gangs threatening staff with weapons and emptying stores. We are seeing violence against colleagues who are doing their job and asking for age verification.
“We are seeing a torrent of abuse aimed at hardworking shop staff. It’s simply unacceptable – no one should have to go to work fearing for their safety.
“We need government to stand with the millions of retail workers who kept us safe and fed during the pandemic – and support them, as those workers supported us.”