Strict new laws have been introduced for anyone who shops at Asda, Tesco, Aldi, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Lidl.

he Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act will see retail workers better protected from abuse in the workplace as the new legislation introduces tougher penalties against customers who attack shop workers.

The new laws have come into force following a concerning rise in abuse during the pandemic.

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James Lowman, CEO of the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) said: “We strongly welcome the introduction of this act, which the retail sector has been calling for over a number of years.

“It’s essential that the penalties for attacking a shopworker serve as an effective deterrent. Introducing tougher sentences for those who attack people providing a service to the public, including shopworkers, marks a significant step forward, but it does not solve the problem by itself.”

He added: "We need to ensure that abuse is not seen as part of the job and that all incidents are reported, and in response, Police and Crime Commissioners must prioritise crimes committed against retailers and their colleagues. We must also put the right interventions in place to stop those with substance and alcohol dependencies from reoffending.”

Figures from the ACS 2022 Crime Report show showed 89% of staff working in convenience stores alone faced abuse at work.

More than 35,000 retail staff in the UK suffered abuse at work in the past year

More than 35,000 incidents have taken place with nearly half of the incidents involving a weapon.

The National Federation of Retail Newsagents national president Narinder Randhawa said: “Attacks against store owners and their staff have been increasing for a number of years, so I am pleased that we are now being given the same protection in law as other frontline workers. Being attacked verbally or physically while just going about your daily business should not be tolerated and seen as part of the job.

"The important thing now is that the police and the Crown Prosecution Service work together to ensure this new law is an effective deterrent and not just a piece of paper. It’s essential that retailers report all incidents to highlight the scale of the problem, and the police response has to improve if retail crime is to be tackled head on.”