1.We launched this inquiry into violence and abuse towards retail workers on 18 December 2020. Since then we have published over 35 pieces of written evidence and received 12,667 responses to our public survey asking retail workers about their lived experiences. The survey asked about the frequency of incidents, how these were reported, what action was taken by the police or employers and what should be done to prevent abuse in future. We have also taken oral evidence from the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW), the British Retail Consortium, the Association of Convenience Stores, Boots UK, The Co-op, representatives of the police and Kit Malthouse MP, the Minister for Crime and Policing. We are very grateful to all those who took the time to fill in the public survey or to provide written or oral evidence to the inquiry.
2.The first chapter of this report seeks to set out the scale of the problem by highlighting the escalating trend of violence and abuse towards retail workers, examining the triggers for this abuse and addressing the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. In the second chapter, we examine the policing response and consider issues with reporting and recording of retail crime. In the third chapter, we will examine how employers are supporting retail workers and look at the preventative measures which can be taken in store. In the fourth chapter, we will discuss the link between addiction and prolific offending. In chapter five, we examine the legal framework and consider the case for introducing a new criminal offence for assaulting or threatening a retail worker.