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Crimes against shop workers need to be treated far more seriously than they are today. One way to do that is to make sure the penalties available to courts create a proper deterrent. As an MP I have the chance to make that happen next week, especially if you can help me.

Over this weekend, please would you encourage your own MP to back my amendment to the Government’s Offensive Weapons Bill. It’s quick and easy to do as you’ll see below. But first let me explain why we need to do this.

Before I became an MP, I used to work for the Co-op. I witnessed first-hand the threats that retail staff can face from some customers. For too long shop workers have been given no distinct protection in law and it is time for the UK Government to put in place the reform needed. And now we have the opportunity to make that happen.

What is the Offensive Weapons Bill?

On Monday the Offensive Weapons Bill will be brought back to the House of Commons. It is a chance for MPs to examine the Bill further following its scrutiny in committee. I’ll be introducing a new clause to the Bill which aims to give shop workers protection from those minority of customers who are abusive and threatening.

This Bill was introduced by the UK Government following the rise in acid and knife attacks. It will bring in place new restrictions to buying these items – as well as other products that can be used as a weapon.

It will make it the legal responsibility of retail workers to check if the person trying to buy the newly restricted items is fit to do so. However, it will give them no new protections for policing this policy with the shop staff member in the front line of enforcing the law.

What has been done so far?

Earlier this week you may have read from my colleague Alex Norris MP about his recently introduced a Ten-Minute Rule Bill in parliament, which would see shop workers protected during all their duties.

We need to build upon the excellent work of Alex in raising awareness and that’s where my amendment comes in. The amendment makes clear that threatening behaviour by an aggrieved customer will be subject to a penalty fine of up to £2500 if proved in court. We have been able to gain support from all sides of Parliament for the amendment and from shops small and large including the Co-op and crucially the shop workers’ union Usdaw.

I hope we can get this addition secured and then point out to the UK Government that it should be extended to all activities associated with being a retail employee.

Contact your MP

The Bill is being read on Monday and it’s still not too late to email your MP calling on them to support New Clause 1. I’ve been working with Usdaw – and they’ve made it easy to get in touch with your MP to let them know that this is important to you as their constituent.

You can contact your MP.

We need the law to deter would-be aggressors from harming retail staff and the best way to do that is to introduce a new aggravated offence against a shop worker.

For too long retail workers have been handed more and more responsibilities but given fewer protections in the eyes of the law. It is time for that to change. We need shop workers to know that they are safe from threats and attacks. Thank you for making this happen.

Dave Hanson
Member of Parliament, Delyn

Join the conversation! 7 Comments

  1. why should it be just offensive weapons, we get abuse for not just refusing sales but also for asking for proof of age,, i had a vile customer just earlier this week calling me a slave, a dirty whore hoping i died of cancer and that my kids died, nobody should have to put up with that abuse

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    • Hi Teresa, That’s very concerning and not something our colleagues should have to accept. Your store manager should be told immediately so they can act on this ^Siobhan

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  2. Brilliant Idea, working in retail i’ve come across many situations like this, and as a worker myself I did not know what I was legally able to do.

    Shop keepers constantly get assualted and the culprits get away with it, its time to stop

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  3. I’m proud to say that Alex Norris IS my MP.

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  4. David

    this is a hugely important issue and the legislative amendments you are proposing will provide greater protection. I’ve written to my MP – Sir Graham Brady – and I hope he will support the amendments on Monday.

    There are – as you will know – other elements to the problem including the impact of austerity on policing levels but regardless this is a really important part of the solution.

    Thanks you

    Paul

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  5. I will back this Bill wholeheartedly. However the causal link is too few Police available to address this issue at source. Needs sorting !

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    • Michael,

      this is multi-faceted and needs several solutions of which one is greater legal protection through an aggravated offence which is what David is doing in Parliament but you are right police need the resources to do the job they want to do and we need them to do – and the truth is simply that they don’t have them and that needs to change.

      Paul

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