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Portsmouth MP keeps pressure on Government calling for a standalone offence as shoplifting and abuse against shopworkers continues to soar

By 16 February 2024No Comments

Stephen Morgan MP has written to the Home Secretary to raise concerns regarding the attacks on city shopworkers and the shoplifting epidemic in Portsmouth, as across the country incidents reach a record high.

It comes with the release of new statistics which show shoplifting incidents have reached a record high more than doubling since 2022, with 16.7 million incidents recorded last year.

Violence and abuse against shop workers also spiked last year with about 1,300 incidents daily, a rise of 50% from 870 the year before. About 8,800 of the total across the year resulted in injury.

The City MP has said the shocking statistics demonstrate the Government’s woeful inaction to address the issue and offer appropriate protection for shopworkers on the front line of retail. Mr Morgan heard first-hand this week the impact attacks are having on retail workers in our city, after meeting representatives from stores in Southsea.

It follows the release new research commissioned by the Co-op which called for the introduction of a standalone offence to protect shopworkers from violence, intimidation and abuse.

Mr Morgan has long made the case would give retail workers the legal protection they deserve when serving their communities, send a strong signal to perpetrators that violence and abuse will not be tolerated, and begin to address the alarming increase in violence, intimidation and abuse that has beset the retail sector.

In his latest lobbying of the Home Secretary on this concern, the Portsmouth MP called on the Government to add teeth to their Retail Action Plan by offering shopworkers the protection they deserve and giving direction to Police to treat shoplifting incidents with urgency to protect shopworkers from harm.

Commenting on the shocking statistics, Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan said:

”The Government has allowed shoplifters to commit crimes with impunity due to their woeful inaction and inability to treat this issue with the seriousness it deserves.

“No one should turn up to work in fear of their safety or wellbeing, yet these shocking statistics show that for many shopworkers up and down our country this has become the norm.

“Action is long overdue. That is why I am again calling on the Government to reconsider their position and enshrine within the law the protection of shopworkers on the frontline of retail.”

It follows a range of actions undertaken by the Portsmouth MP to lobby the Government to take action to tackle shoplifting, as well as raising concerns on the parliamentary floor, meeting with local police and retailers, and campaigning for more bobbies on the beat.

Last month Mr Morgan brought together traders and small businesses on Palmerston Road and surrounding areas to hear views and concerns and take further action.

You can view Mr Morgan’s letter to the Home Secretary here.