Yorkshire shop-workers abused, threatened and assaulted 19 times in one year

Shop-workers across Yorkshire are abused, threatened or assaulted 19 times a year on average, new statistics have revealed.

Liam Algor, Usdaw trade union official for Leeds.

The figures, released by trade union Usdaw have revealed the average shop-worker across Yorkshire and the Humber is abused, threatened or assaulted more than once every three weeks.

A total of 64 per cent of shop-workers experienced verbal abuse, 45 per cent were threatened by a customer and 27 are assaulted every day across the county in 2018, Usdaw's Freedom From Fear Survey shows.

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Examples include workers being threatened with needles and knifes, employees being spat on and shop-workers pushed, punched and kicked.

Liam Algor, Usdaw trade union official for Leeds, said: "The figures do not make good reading and these incidents are becoming more and more frequent.

"The statistics show urgent action is required and our message is clear, abuse is not part of the job.

"We launched our Freedom From Fear Campaign in the face of growing concerns amongst retail staff about violence, threats and abuse. The campaign works with employers to promote respect and make shops safer for staff and customers alike.

“So there needs to be action to help protect staff. We want the Government to provide stiffer penalties for those who assault workers; a simple stand-alone offence that is widely recognised and understood by the public, police, CPS, the judiciary and most importantly criminals."

Mr Algor, 28, was the victim of a knife attack when he worked as a security officer at a shop in Sheffield.

He was stabbed in the face, with the knife narrowly missing his eye.

Mr Algor said: "I was trying to apprehend a shop lifter and as I grabbed hold of him he pulled out a knife and stabbed me just above my eye, I was lucky as I could have been blinded."

Mr Algor says he has witnessed various shop workers being assaulted.

He said: "I have seen people come into the shop and assault members of staff.

"I have also heard from others of people having been held at gunpoint when the shop worker has simply asked for ID.

"There was one instance where a man came in to the shop for a paper and because the shop didn't have it the man got out a petrol can and held a lighter to it, threatening to set the whole shop on fire.

"I previously worked as a nightclub bouncer and all I can say is I was involved in far less physical alterations than when I worked on shop security."

The Government has now opened a 'call for evidence' on the growing issue following pressure from Usdaw and a number of retailers and wants to hear the views of organisations and individuals about their experiences.

The consultation closes at 11pm on June 28.

People can visit www.homeofficesurveys.homeoffice.gov.uk/s/PVAUE/ to make their own submissions.