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    Retail trade union criticises Tories for dropping Criminal Justice Bill

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    Retail trade union Usdaw has criticised Tory ministers for failing to follow through on their promise to create a standalone offence of assaulting a shop worker.

    The government did table an amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill, which was weaker than the law that already exists in Scotland, but it fell when a general election was called and didn’t get through Parliament’s so-call wash-up.

    Paddy Lillis – Usdaw general secretary says, “Last month the Government U-turned on the need to legislate to protect shop workers from violence, threats and abuse, by announcing they would create a standalone offence in their Criminal Justice Bill.

    “This turned out to be a political stunt trying to undermine Labour’s commitment on this. I am now not convinced that they ever intended to follow through on this promise, after failing to support the Labour amendment, delaying the passage of the Bill and then allowing it fall before Parliament closed for a general election.
     
    “The dither and delay of this Government, on this issue, over many years, has led to thousands of shop workers needlessly suffering physical and mental injury. It is an absolute disgrace to play games with the lives of shop workers, key workers in every community, on the front line suffering unprecedented violence, abuse and threats in a retail crime epidemic. The Tory record is one of effectively decriminalising theft from shops.
     
    “This, among many reasons, is why we need a Labour Government. Labour is committed to deliver for retail staff in England and Wales the protection of shop workers law that has existed in Scotland for three years. Labour will end the perverse £200 threshold for prosecuting shoplifters, which has effectively become an open invitation to retail criminals. Labour will provide more uniformed officers patrolling shopping areas and introduce town centre banning orders for repeat offenders.
     
    “We hope that fourteen years of Tory failure are about to come to an end, so that our members can secure the change they desperately need on this and many other issues. Shop workers need the respect that they have long deserved and, regrettably, too often do not receive. We need Labour to deliver this.”

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