Last year 4% of retail staff across the country were attacked at work and 34% were threatened with violence.
Currently these kinds of assaults are sentenced under Common Assault guidelines. Under these guidelines it is an aggravating factor to assault a public sector worker. However this does not apply to the thousands of people working in the private sector in Cardiff who are threatened with violence at work.
As the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill returned to the House of Commons last week, Cardiff Central’s Lib Dem MP Jenny Willott failed to protect vulnerable workers in Cardiff across the public and private sector. If passed, the bill would have meant simpler and stiffer sentencing guidelines to deter people from committing a crime in the first place.
Jo Stevens, Welsh Labour’s candidate for Cardiff Central in 2015, said:
“The thousands of people who work in shops, cafes, restaurants and petrol stations in Cardiff should feel safe at work and feel adequately protected if they challenge a shoplifter.
“Hardworking people deserve the same protection from violence whether they work in the public or the private sector and last week’s vote shows just how out of touch this Government is.
“Being threatened with violence while you do your job is completely unacceptable wherever you work. Jenny Willott and the Lib Dems had the opportunity to ensure that the same sentencing guidelines apply if you are threatened with violence at work in the public or private sector and they have let down shop workers in Cardiff.”
Usdaw’s Freedom From Fear Survey Report 2013, interim results of shop workers experiences over the last year, showed:
- Victims of verbal abuse: 49%
- Shopworkers threatened: 35%
- Violent assaults: 4%
Of these incidents the following didn’t report it to their manager:
- Abuse: 46%
- Threats: 33%
- Violence: 17%
At present, assault on public facing workers is sentenced under Common Assault guidelines. And whilst it is an aggravating factor to assault a public sector worker, this consideration does not apply to millions of hard working people in our shops, petrol stations and restaurants.
This leaves it up to the Judge to decide which out of the 3 categories of harm and culpability, 19 aggravating factors and 11 factors reducing seriousness assaulting a staff member falls under.