Major UK retailers, including Sainsbury’s, Boots, M&S and Aldi, have called on police forces to provide more protection for their workers amid the rising cases of abuse, according to a report by the BBC.

The letter, signed by more than 50 businesses and a number of MPs, urged the police to record assaults on service workers in police statistics separately.

Signatories also include John Lewis, the Post Office, BT, Octopus and former work and pensions secretary Esther McVey.

The move comes after research revealed that two in five retail workers are subjected to abuse from customers on a weekly basis.

North London-based charity Retail Trust, which spoke to 1,600 staff from 200 companies, found that almost half of them feel unsafe at work.

Two-thirds of respondents said they are being shouted at, spat on, threatened, or hit.

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BBC quoted a spokesperson for the Home Office as saying: “It is completely unacceptable to threaten or assault shop workers. We have recently put aggravated sentences for assaults on shop workers into law, showing that these crimes will not be tolerated.”

Last month, the 2023 British Retail Consortium (BRC) Crime Survey showed that incidents of violence and abuse towards retail colleagues had almost doubled on pre-pandemic levels to 867 incidents every day in 2021/22.

In response, 91 retail leaders also wrote a letter to the Home Secretary at the time, Suella Braverman, urging for more actions to be taken over rising retail crime.

British Retail Consortium chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “It’s time the Government put their words into action. We need to see a standalone offence for assaulting or abusing a retail worker – as exists in Scotland. We need the Government to stand with the millions of retail workers who kept us safe and fed during the pandemic – and support them, as those workers supported us.”