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Close to 300 cases of abuse against shopworkers in Scotland reported to police

ALMOST 300 cases of abuse against shopworkers in Scotland were reported to police during the first three months of a law designed to protect them, figures show.

The Protection of Workers Act came into force in late August last year and figures from the Scottish Business Resilience Centre show that 285 incidents of abuse or threats were reported to police by the end of November.

The new law made it a specific offence to threaten or abuse retail staff.

Usdaw general secretary Paddy Lillis said: “Usdaw’s message to members has long been ‘report it to sort it,’ so we welcome that the new law in Scotland is encouraging reporting. 

“However, it is a disgrace that retail staff are still suffering too many incidents of violence, threats and abuse from a significant minority of customers and we continue to urge the shopping public to respect shopworkers.

“It has been a terrible year for our members, with over 90 per cent of shopworkers suffering abuse, more than two-thirds threatened and one in seven assaulted.

“We are saying loud and clear that enough is enough, abuse should never be part of the job.

“We need the Scottish government, police and retailers to continue to promote the new law.

“We want the public to understand that assaulting and abusing shopworkers is totally unacceptable and will land them with stiffer penalties. 

“The protection of shopworkers legislation in Scotland should result in retail staff getting the respect they deserve.”

A Scottish government spokesman said: “Those working in our retail sector should be lauded for the important work they are doing during these challenging and unprecedented circumstances.

“They, like anybody, should be able to work without fear of abuse.”


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