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Jessica signs letter to protect shopworkers

To mark Respect for Shopworkers Week, Jessica has signed a Co-operative Party letter to the Home Secretary calling for him to adopt Labour's plan to tackle retail crime. This includes introducing a new and specific offence of assault against retail workers, and ensuring all shoplifting crimes are investigated by the police by scrapping the current £200 rule on theft of goods.

Respect for Shopworkers Week is a flagship event in Usdaw's Freedom From Fear campaign.

Usdaw’s latest survey figures show that over 70% of retail workers have been abused in the last12 months, nearly half have been threatened with physical violence and 8% have been physically assaulted.

Shoplifting is a major factor in these instances and was a specific trigger for 34% of incidents, including 3% that related to armed robbery.

There has been a significant and worrying growth in retail crime across the UK, especially from repeat and prolific offenders and organised gangs, which is often a trigger for threatening and violent incidents against retail workers.

The Co-Op have said that instances of retail crime in the first six months of this year are 35% up compared to last year, that some repeat offenders steal thousands of pounds worth of products each week and that one of its stores in London was targeted by groups three times in a single day. This has been described as an "epidemic" by retail leaders.

The safety of their staff is an issue small businesses have raised with Jessica in roundtable meetings. Growing levels of ASB in Bournemouth town centre is having an impact on the success of retail and hospitality businesses.

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