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Labour’s Lee Sherriff calls on the Government to give greater protection to shop workers threatened with violence

Last year 4% of retail staff across the country were attacked at work and 34% were threatened with violence.

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Currently these kinds of assaults are sentenced under Common Assault guidelines. Under these guidelines it is an aggravating factor to assault a public sector worker. However this does not apply to the thousands of people working in the private sector who are threatened with violence at work.

As the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill returns to the House of Commons today, Labour’s Lee Sherriff is calling on the government to protect all public facing workers in Cumbria both those in the public and private sector. She is calling on the Government to introduce simpler and stiffer sentencing guidelines to deter people from committing a crime in the first place.

A former retail worker, Lee Sherriff, Labour’s General Election candidate for Carlisle, said:

“The thousands of people who work in shops, cafes, restaurants and petrol stations in Carlisle need to feel safe at work and they need to feel adequately protected if they challenge a shoplifter.

“Hardworking people deserve the same protection from violence whether they work in the public or the private sector and suggesting otherwise just shows how out of touch this Government is.

“Being threatened with violence while you do your job is completely unacceptable wherever you work. That is why I am calling on the Tory-led Government to make sure the same sentencing guidelines apply if you are threatened with violence at work in the public or private sector.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

1. Usdaw’s Freedom From Fear Survey Report 2013, interim results of shop workers experiences over the last year, showed:

• Victims of verbal abuse: 49%
• Shopworkers threatened: 35%
• Violent assaults: 4%

Of these incidents the following didn’t report it to their manager:

• Abuse 46%
• Threats 33%
• Violence 17%

2. At present, assault on public facing workers is sentenced under Common Assault guidelines. And whilst it is an aggravating factor to assault a public sector worker, this consideration does not apply to millions of hard working people in our shops, petrol stations and restaurants.
3. This leave it up to the Judge to decide which out of the 3 categories of harm and culpability, 19 aggravating factors and 11 factors reducing seriousness assaulting a staff member falls under.

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