Vertical Markets

Crimestoppers in retail campaign

by Mark Rowe

Crimestoppers Scotland is running a campaign urging people to report cases of verbal or physical abuse of shop workers, whether by freephone 0800 555 111 or online.

Angela Parker of Crimestoppers says: “Everyone has the right to feel safe. Violence and aggression towards shop staff can often leave people traumatised with vital, local shops at risk of closing. We would encourage communities to speak up to our charity 100 per cent anonymously if they know or suspect who is responsible.

“Please help us to help you by telling us, completely anonymously, what you know. You can talk to us by calling our UK Contact Centre which is open 24/7 on freephone 0800 555 111 or you can use our easy and secure anonymous online form at”

This comes after the passing of the Protection of Workers (Scotland) Bill, steered through the Holyrood Parliament by Daniel Johnson MSP (Labour, Edinburgh Southern).


At the retail workers’ trade union Usdaw, Stewart Forrest, Scottish Divisional Officer says: “Retail staff have been on the frontline 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 ten 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. Usdaw has campaigned for many years to secure these legal protections.

“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.”

Like others in retail, Usdaw points to new pandemic-related causes of bad behaviour, when shoppers refuse to wear masks in shops or to comply with social distancing; besides continuing pre-pandemic conflicts, typically during shoplifting and refusals to sell to an intoxicated person, or when staff ask for age identification, as they are legally obliged to.

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