The charity Crimestoppers has launched a campaign to highlight a new law that helps protect Scotland’s retail workers and to encourage anonymous reporting.
It follows the passing of the Protection of Workers (Scotland) Bill and recent findings from trade union USDAW which saw an average of 15 shop staff assaulted in Scotland every day.
Now, in Scotland, a new offence specifically designed to protect retail workers comes into force on 24th August. This new offence carries with it a fine or prison sentence as a penalty and will help improve how the justice system responds to attacks on retail workers. If the retail worker was enforcing a statutory age restriction at the time of a crime being committed, a tougher penalty may be imposed.
The Crimestoppers campaign comes on the back of a hugely successful initiative by the charity earlier this year that highlighted the impact of abuse, threats and violence on Scotland’s retail staff.
Throughout the summer, our youth programme Fearless.org ran social media ads and outreach events to raise awareness of the impact of abuse and the new law coming into force in August. Since the Bill was introduced over 24,000 young people in Scotland aged under 18 have visited the dedicated youth landing page to find out more about this campaign.
Angela Parker, National Manager for Crimestoppers in Scotland, said:
In terms of public support and engagement, our February 21 shopworkers campaign was the most successful initiative our charity has ever run. The public were unanimous in their support for our retail workers and outraged to see the level of abuse, violence and threats targeted at them.
Everyone has the right to feel safe. Violence and aggression towards shop staff can often leave people traumatised and in some cases vital, local shops left being at risk of closing.
We are encouraging the public to understand the new law and are asking retail workers to speak up and report all incidents. You can report an emergency on
999, non-emergencies to Police Scotland on 101 or, to stay 100% anonymous, contact Crimestoppers.
Crimestoppers is independent of the police, and we have always kept our promise of total anonymity to everyone who has contacted us since we began in the late 1980s. You can tell us what you know by using our simple and secure online form at Crimestoppers-uk.org or by calling our UK Contact Centre on freephone 0800 555 111 which is open 24/7, 365 days a year. Your information could help protect those you love and your community from harm.
Community Safety Minister Ash Denham said:
Retail workers play a vital role serving our communities, which has been clearly demonstrated during the pandemic, and they should not have to tolerate any form of abuse, threats or violence as part of their job.
This important campaign highlights new legislation coming into force later this month which will help protect retail workers and encourage reporting of incidents.
Tougher penalties for the perpetrators of crimes against retail staff under the new legislation will ensure everyone understands the seriousness of these incidents. The new laws will also improve how data on incidents is collected to further develop an understanding of the scale of the problem.