Only Labour has a plan to tackle retail crime after years of Tory failure to address rising shoplifting and abuse of shop workers says Usdaw

Retail trade union Usdaw is backing Labour’s plan to tackle shop crime after years of Tory opposition to tougher punishments for those who assault staff and then a broken promise after they finally U-turned on the need to legislate.

Tory ministers failed to deliver on their promise to create a standalone offence of assaulting a shop worker. While they did table an amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill, which was weaker than the law that already exists in Scotland, it fell when they called a general election and didn’t push the bill through Parliament’s so-called ‘wash-up’.

Paddy Lillis – Usdaw general secretary says: “The Government’s dither and delay on crime has led to thousands of shop workers needlessly suffering physical and mental injury. In stark contrast Labour is committed to deliver a much-needed protection of shop workers law, end the perverse £200 threshold for prosecuting shoplifters, which has effectively become an open invitation to retail criminals, and provide more uniformed officers patrolling shopping areas along with town centre banning orders for repeat offenders.

“While the Tories played political games with the safety of shop workers and effectively decriminalised theft from shops, Labour has the plan to ensure protection and respect for these key workers in every community, who are on the front line suffering unprecedented violence, abuse and threats in a retail crime epidemic.

“We hope that fourteen years of Tory failure are about to come to an end, so that our members can secure the change they desperately need on this and many other issues. Shop workers need the respect that they have long deserved and regrettably do not receive. We need Labour to deliver this.”

Notes for editors:

Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is one of the fastest growing unions in the TUC and the UK’s fifth biggest trade union with around 360,000 members. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemical industry and other trades www.usdaw.org.uk

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