New criminal offence for assaulting shop workers to be introduced in the Criminal Justice Bill

GEPP

17 April 2024

By Sabina Theobald

The Criminal Justice Bill is set to undergo an amendment, introducing a distinct criminal offence for assaulting shop workers. This change aims to provide stronger protection for retail staff who face violence and abuse while working.

Current legal status

Currently, assaulting a shop worker results in charges based on specific circumstances. Offenders may be charged with common assault, actual bodily harm (ABH), or possession of a weapon, depending on the severity of the assault.

Proposed changes

The new legislation will implement a single charge for assaulting shop workers. This unified offence will streamline the legal process and ensure consistent punishment for offenders.

The proposed offence will carry a maximum sentence of 6 months imprisonment or an unlimited fine, aligning it with the penalties for common assault. Repeat offenders may be required to wear an electronic tag, and courts will have the authority to ban them from entering specific shops.

Public support and petition

The decision to introduce this new offence follows a public petition calling for stronger legal protections for retail workers. The petition highlighted the increasing incidents of violence and abuse faced by shop workers and garnered widespread support.