Everyone has the right to feel safe at work and assaults on shop-workers are unacceptable.
There are a range of offences someone can be convicted of if they assault a shop-worker. Maximum penalties for offences are set by Parliament and include five years’ custody for assault occasioning actual bodily harm and life imprisonment for the most serious cases of causing grievous bodily harm. There are no plans to increase sentences for assault offences.
When making sentencing decisions the courts must follow the relevant sentencing guidelines, produced by the independent Sentencing Council. The Overarching principles: seriousness Guideline and Assault Guideline include an aggravating factor where ‘an offence is committed against those working in the public sector or providing a service to the public’. Where applied, this would merit an increased sentence within the maximum available. The Sentencing Council is reviewing its guidelines on assault and a consultation on a revised guideline is anticipated later this year.
On 21 January the Home Office announced the launch of a call for evidence on violence and abuse towards shop workers. The aim of this work is to strengthen our understanding of the issue, including how existing legislation is being applied. The National Retail Crime Steering Group will continue to provide input on tackling this issue.