Jason Tarry, CEO of supermarket chain Tesco UK, has supported a new petition that calls for the government to make violence or abuse against retail workers a standalone criminal offence.

Filed by Tesco employee Jenny Whyte, the petition urges lawmakers to act and reinforce the laws protecting shop staff.

This follows the rise in verbal abuse and assaults on retail workers.

In 2022, Tesco reported that violent incidents against its store employees increased by a third.

To address this challenge, the supermarket chain introduced various measures, including body cameras for colleagues.

The company also installed toughened glass safety screens in more than 300 Tesco Express convenience stores and petrol station kiosks.

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By GlobalData

Tesco UK CEO Jason Tarry said: “I am fully behind the petition to make the abuse of retail workers a standalone offence. We want our colleagues to be safe at work.

“Creating a standalone offence not only sends a strong message to the small but violent group of people who abuse and attack shop workers, but also makes it clear to shopworkers that as a nation we take protecting them seriously. I would encourage anyone who wants to see retail workers better protected to sign the petition, as every signature makes a difference.”

In a separate development, Tesco said that it will recruit 30,000 temporary colleagues across the UK ahead of the Christmas season.

Newly hired colleagues will work in Tesco’s Superstores and Extra stores on early morning, day or evening shifts.