The Scottish Grocers Federation (SGF) is calling for prosecution figures related to abuse and assault against retail workers to be made public.

The Protection of Workers (Retail) Act, which was delivered with the support of SGF, came into force in August 2021.

The latest figures provided by Police Scotland show that the Act has been used 7,056 times to report retail specific cases of abuse or assault of staff and retailers (up to July 2023).

The Act aims to give greater protection in law to retail workers, particularly where they are providing goods and services that are age restricted.

Scottish Grocers Federation’s proposal

SGF has contacted the Scottish Government, the Lord Advocate and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service calling for the publication of figures on referrals and convictions relating to the Act.

The organisation holds that this is essential information to show the Act is a working deterrent within Scotland’s retail sector.

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SGF Chief Executive, Dr Pete Cheema OBE said: “Retail crime and shop theft is a very serious issue for convenience stores and our members. Reports of increased shoplifting are coming in from number of sources alongside a rise in anti-social behaviour toward staff and within stores.

“It is not only staff wellbeing and businesses that are being impacted by these crimes, but families and the wider community as well.”

SGF’s annual Scottish Retail Crime Report reports that 100% of respondents experience shop theft at least once a day and all experience abuse, violence or hate crime on a regular basis.

The British Retail Consortium also recently highlighted that incidents of theft have increased by 27% across ten of the largest cities in the UK.