Assault on Retail Workers to Become a Specific Criminal Offence

New Strategies to Address Retail Crime

In a recent development, the UK government has taken a definitive step towards reinforcing the safety of retail workers by proposing a specific criminal offence for assaults against them. This announcement was made during a Retail Crime meeting at No.10 Downing Street, chaired by the Policing Minister, which focused on the progress of the Retail Crime Action Plan and explored new initiatives.

retail workers

Key Measures Introduced:

  • Legislation to Protect Retail Workers: A bespoke offence for assaulting retail staff is being introduced in the Criminal Justice Bill currently under review by Parliament. This move underscores the government’s stance that violence against retail employees is intolerable and will attract severe penalties.

  • Enhanced Monitoring and Technologies: The plan includes the expanded use of electronic monitoring for habitual shoplifters and leverages cutting-edge technologies to prevent and detect retail crime.

  • Crime Prevention through Design: Strategies to ‘design out’ crime will reduce opportunities for theft and resale of stolen goods, focusing on strategic store layout and other preventive measures.

  • Simplified Crime Reporting: Initiatives to streamline the process for reporting retail crimes and facilitating information sharing between businesses and law enforcement agencies.

Upon conviction for the new offence, courts are expected to issue a Criminal Behaviour Order to bar offenders from entering specified retail premises, with breaches carrying a potential five-year prison sentence.

Additionally, the document highlights the critical role of the National Business Crime Centre (NBCC) in bridging the gap between policing and business communities, enhancing efforts to tackle retail crime effectively. The government has committed to supporting the NBCC and exploring funding opportunities for the Police Crime Prevention Initiatives (PCPI) to train police officers and community support officers in handling retail crime scenarios.

Upcoming Workshops and Data Sharing Initiatives:

The government plans to sponsor a series of workshops across the country to facilitate better understanding and integration of Data Exchange Management Systems (DEMS) among police and retailers. This initiative aims to increase system adoption and highlight its benefits in crime prevention.

Furthermore, efforts are underway to improve the sharing of crime data and offender information, including the use of retrospective facial matching technology to identify and apprehend repeat offenders across multiple retail locations.

Read more: The government Fighting Retail Crime More action

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