Chris Evans says that special protections should be in place for shop workers who face abuse for enforcing the law. The Islwyn MP is supporting an amendment to the Offensive Weapons Bill which would create a new offence of obstructing or threatening shop workers while they are doing their jobs, punishment would include fines of up to £2,500.
In January shop worker Vijaykumar Patel was sadly killed when he refused the sale of rizla cigarette papers to a 16-year old boy. This event highlights the abuse shop workers can often face when refusing the sale of restricted items.
A recent survey by the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers show that two-thirds of shop workers were verbally abused last year, 42% were threatened and there were over 265 assaults every day. The amendment to the Offensive Weapons Bill would make it easier to prosecute those who verbally abuse or threaten shop workers. The amendment would also introduce tougher sentencing for anyone convicted of using threats or violence against a shop worker
A new populous poll shows that 85% of voters agree that: “The government owes a duty of care to shop workers who enforce important laws restricting the sale of certain items like alcohol, acid and knives.” They also believe that the best way to deliver this is with: “A tough new law to increase criminal sentences for anyone convicted of using threats or violence against a shop worker.”
Mr Evans said ‘As shop workers are enforcing the law they deserve extra protections from the abuse they face.
‘Serious punishment for those who abuse shop workers will send a clear message, Abuse aimed at shop workers will not be tolerated’