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Shopworkers abuse campaign launched in Scotland

A CAMPAIGN to raise awareness and stop abuse of shop staff was launched in Scotland today after Holyrood backed laws strengthening protection for retail workers.

A Bill introduced by Scottish Labour MSP Daniel Johnson was passed in January amid reports of rising numbers of workers being attacked during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Scottish government has now launched an awareness campaign with testimony from retail staff about the damaging impact of this criminal behaviour.

Commenting on the launch of the campaign, Mr Johnson said: “This is a welcome development and one that I had discussed with Scottish government ministers during the progress of my Member’s Bill.

“The public has to be made aware that assaulting or abusing a retail worker is completely unacceptable, something the campaign will outline, but we have to go further.

“As well as raising awareness, the Scottish government has to ensure that any crimes are properly investigated and prosecuted, with both Police Scotland and the Crown Office adopting policies to make sure this happens, given the concern expressed by the retail industry about enforcement.

“There can be no more excuses for abusing retail workers.”

The campaign, backed by £50,000 of Scottish government funding, is being delivered by Crimestoppers, its youth programme Fearless, and the Scottish Grocers Federation.

Stewart Forrest, the Scottish officer for trade union Usdaw, said: “Retail staff have been on the front line throughout the coronavirus crisis, helping to keep our communities fed, despite the risks of contracting the virus.

“We owe them a debt of gratitude, and abuse should never be a part of their job.

“The final results of our 2020 survey show that nine in 10 shopworkers had been abused last year, so we very much welcomed the ground-breaking legislation to protect shopworkers from violence, threats and abuse, passed by the Scottish Parliament last month.

“Crucial to the new law having the desired impact is criminals understanding that assaulting and abusing shopworkers is totally unacceptable. 

“So we welcome the opportunity to work with Crimestoppers Scotland, the Scottish government, police and retailers to promote that message.

“Our hope is that this new legislation will result in retail staff getting the protection and respect they deserve.”

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