The Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) has thrown its weight behind Daniel Johnson MSP’s proposed Protection of Workers Bill and called for more to be done to protect vulnerable retail workers.
In a response to the Consultation on the proposed legislation published today (April 20), the SRC offered particular support for the creation of a new statutory aggravation for abusing a worker carrying out actions required by Government (for example enforcing age-restricted sales such as alcoholic products).
The SRC favoured this option over the creation of a specific new offence, arguing that the degree of overlap with existing legislation might cause “confusion amongst prosecutors, police, retail colleagues and the general public”.
Ewan MacDonald-Russell, SRC Head of Policy, said: “Violent or abusive behaviour towards shop staff in Scotland is wholly and utterly unacceptable. Retail workers should be able to work free from fear of violence, intimidation or abuse. Disturbingly, 13 retail workers a day across the UK are facing injury from assault. That’s completely unacceptable, and clearly more needs to be done to protect those vulnerable workers.
“The SRC believes this legislative proposal offers an opportunity to revisit the law and ensure it is fit for purpose and that the sentences handed down are stiff enough to offer a sufficient deterrent. However, it’s just as crucial the opportunity is taken to ensure all the steps possible at the moment are being taken by the police and criminal justice system to ensure retail workers, who play a vital role in Scotland’s economy, are able to perform their jobs free from abuse.”