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The Federation of Independent Retailers (NFRN) has welcomed news that the government is making more than £130 million available to tackle serious violent crime.

Home Secretary Priti Patel announced today (March 8) that the funding will ‘enable a programme of work to prevent some of the most serious types of crime and deliver safer communities for the British public.’

The NFRN has campaigned for the government to take tougher action in the fight against retail crime, as attacks on shop staff have increased year on year.

NFRN National President Stuart Reddish said: “While the Home Secretary says this additional funding is aimed at tackling street crime involving weapons, which we obviously support, it must be recognised that there is a knock-on effect on retailers.

“More needs to be done to protect retailers and their staff. Independent retailers have been and continue to be at the frontline during this pandemic and are having to deal with physical and verbal threats on a near daily basis for simply doing their jobs.

“We will continue to lobby the government to tighten the law so that any form of attack on shop workers is taken more seriously and has more stringent penalties for those who commit such crimes.”

On January 19, the Scottish Parliament passed the Protection of Workers (Retail and Age-restricted Goods and Services) (Scotland) Bill, introduced by MSP Daniel Johnson.

The new legislation makes attacking a store worker a specific offence, while assaults or abuse relating to the sale of age-restricted products – such as alcohol or tobacco – also become an aggravating factor in law, attracting higher penalties for perpetrators

The NFRN is calling on MPs in Westminster to now support the Assaults on Retail Workers (Offences) Bill presented by Alex Norris MP in 2020.

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