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New legislation in UK makes violence against retailers a criminal offence

In a significant move aimed at tackling the rising incidents of violence and abuse towards shop staff, assaulting a shopworker is set to become a separate criminal offence in England and Wales. This decision comes amidst a surge in shoplifting incidents, with daily reports of violence against retail employees increasing by 50% last year amid the cost-of-living crisis.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak emphasised the government's commitment to combatting crime in retail establishments, stating that stores 'must be free to trade without the threat of crime or abuse'. The proposed legislation will be included in the Criminal Justice Bill, currently under consideration by Parliament.

Photo © Feng Yu |

The government has pledged £55 million towards the implementation of facial recognition technology over the next four years. This investment aims to enhance surveillance capabilities, enabling the identification and apprehension of perpetrators, including repeat offenders. Specifically, £4 million will be allocated for mobile units equipped with live facial recognition technology to be deployed in high streets across the country.


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