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    ‘Include Northern Ireland in new shopworker assault law’

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    A retailers trade body is calling on the government to include Northern Ireland too in the recent changes proposed to Criminal Justice Bill, saying “our shop staff deserve no less”.

    The Prime Minister Rishi Sunak today (10) announced that assault of shop workers will now be made a specific criminal office in England and Wales (already applies in Scotland).

    Trade association Retail NI has called for today’s announcement that assaulting a retail worker will be make a standalone offence to apply to Northern Ireland as well.

    Retail NI Chief Executives Glyn Roberts said, “This is a welcome announcement by the Prime Minister given the huge increase in the physical and verbal abuse of shop workers in England and Wales.

    “Northern Ireland is now the only part of the UK not to have such laws to deter criminals and to protect shop staff.

    ‘In two weeks’, time Retail NI will be launching a comprehensive report on the experiences of our members relating to business crime. It will outline what the Department of Justice and PSNI need to do to tackle it.

    “Top of our list is for this law to include Northern Ireland. Our shop staff deserve no less”.

    The government has announced plans for tougher punishments for serial or abusive shoplifters in England and Wales, including being forced to wear a tag to ensure they do not revisit the scene of their crime, under a new standalone criminal offence of assaulting a retail worker.

    The new law, under which perpetrators could be sent to prison for up to six months and receive unlimited fines, will be introduced via an amendment to Criminal Justice Bill that is working its way through parliament. The change could happen as early as this summer.

    The government is also investing more than £55 million in expanding facial recognition systems – including vans that will scan crowded high streets – as part of a renewed crackdown on shoplifting.

    Read here for further details.

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