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Alex Norris, the current Shadow Minister for Policing, believes a standalone offence for attacks on retail workers is still just around the corner.

The creation of such an offence was thwarted at the last minute when parliament was dissolved ahead of the forthcoming general election.

However, speaking at the annual conference of the Federation of Independent Retailers (the Fed) in Birmingham on June 17, Mr Norris said: “We were just weeks away from establishing the standalone offence, but I believe that in the near future we will achieve that change.

“People ask ‘why should there be a standalone offence for retail workers – why not bus drivers or council workers?

“The difference is, you as retailers are asked by the government to enforce the law on things like alcohol sales, which are potential flashpoints for verbal or physical confrontations, and I believe we have a responsibility to have your backs for those moments.”

Mr Norris stressed that, should his party be elected on July 4, he would also make it a priority to scrap the so called £200 rule, whereby some police forces do not pursue cases where a theft is valued below £200.

“There is no acceptable level of value when it comes to crime,” he added.

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