Government announces measures to crackdown on retail crime

Under new government plans, assaulting a shopworker is set to become a criminal offence, alongside tougher punishments for shoplifters including prison time and fines.

Announced by prime minister Rishi Sunak this morning, amendments to the Criminal Justice Bill will see perpetrators possibly going to prison for up to six months for shoplifting and receiving unlimited fines, with Criminal Behaviour Orders also banning them from going back to the shop where they committed their crimes. The move means legislation across both Scotland and England now aligns.

It’s also been revealed that breaching an order will be a criminal offence, carrying with it a five-year maximum prison sentence, while perpetrators committing serious crimes, including grievous bodily harm with intent, will face life sentences.

Read more: FWD and Labour MP discuss approach to retail crime

The FWD has welcomed today’s announcement: “While this is a step in the right direction, we look forward to seeing the Government’s definition of ‘retail worker’ and will work to ensure that colleagues working in the wholesale sector are included in the definition and protected by these new measures. Ahead of further details being finalised, we call on the Government to adopt an inclusive definition to protect those who face violence daily in our sector when simply doing their job,” said chief executive James Bielby. “Crime in the wholesale sector is at an all-time high and we hope that this offence sends a clear message that violence against colleagues in our sector will be met with tough consequences.”

Meanwhile, Noel Robinson, joint managing director of Parfetts, said: “We agree with the government that enough is enough and welcome the move to make assaulting retail workers a standalone criminal offence. Our retailers work hard to serve their communities and deserve to be safe while they do it. We’re calling for the government to fast-track this legislation.”

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Paul Hill is the Editor of Better Wholesaling. He can be found on Twitter at @BW_PaulHill, or contacted via and 07960935659.


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