Volumatic shows support for new law protecting shop workers

11 April 2024

With retail crime having risen by 50% in the last two years, the Government has announced this week that assaulting a shop worker will be made a standalone criminal offence in England and Wales.

Increasingly concerned about the rise in attacks over recent years, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said “shops must be free from the threat of crime or abuse” and has told shoplifters and those abusing shop workers, “enough is enough.”

Those found guilty of these offences will face an unlimited fine, being banned from the shop premises where crimes were committed, being tagged if offending multiple times or facing a prison sentence for the most serious cases of assault.

It was announced that over £55 million is to be invested in dedicated facial recognition mobile units that will be used in high streets across the UK to catch perpetrators and prevent shoplifting. Police have also been told to check more CCTV images against police databases as many of those carrying out these offences are serial offenders and already known to the police. 

There will also be a rollout of bespoke community sentencing measures outlined by the Government and the police to send out a clear message to criminals that this crack-down on shop crime is serious and will no longer be tolerated.

Praise for the new law

The move to create this new offence follows a longstanding campaign by some of the UK’s biggest retailers, including the Co-op and John Lewis, calling for more action to help protect their staff, which was supported by MP Matt Vickers

Paul Gerrard, Campaigns and Public Affairs Director of The Co-op Group, who has seen the rise in offences against shop workers first-hand, said: “We have long called for a standalone offence of attacking or abusing a shopworker and so we very much welcome the Government’s announcement today. The Co-op will redouble our work with police forces but these measures will undoubtedly, when implemented, keep our shopworkers safer, protect the shops they work in and help the communities both serve.”

Cash industry leaders Volumatic, who work with the Co-op Food Group, and many other retailers to supply intelligent cash handling solutions that also help enhance security, have also welcomed the announcement. Volumatic has long supported the retailers they work with and knows how hard some stores have been hit by the rise in both shoplifting and assaults.

James Harris, MD at Volumatic said: “Volumatic has always supported the retail community and we’re always here to help retailers combat crime however we can. Many of our current retail customers have shared with us how serious and frequent these crimes have become, and lots of them have turned to us in recent months to request even more secure devices and security enhancement products, which we’ve been happy to help them with.”

The use of security devices like ours, paired with CCTV is already helping protect retail businesses, and we are glad to hear the government and the police are responding positively and decisively to this upturn in crime with the introduction of this new bill and we hope shop workers will start to feel safer as the new offence comes into being and starts to take effect.”

The Government will introduce the new offence in its Criminal Justice Bill, currently being considered by Parliament.

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