Yvette Cooper

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has welcomed a commitment from shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper to get tougher on the “epidemic” of shoplifting gangs through the introduction of new sanctions for attacking a shopworker.

In her speech to the Labour Party Conference this morning, she highlighted the issues being faced by retailers and shopworkers across the UK with theft and abuse, and the challenges that they’re dealing with when it comes to getting meaningful intervention from the police.

The Shadow Home Secretary committed in the speech to putting a stop to the idea that there is a £200 threshold for investigating incidents of theft, to bringing in respect orders that would ban repeat offenders from town centres and high streets, and to introducing 13,000 more neighbourhood police officers and PCSOs to patrol the streets and make people feel safer.

In her address to the conference, she said: “We will stand with Usdaw, with the Co-op, with Tesco, with our convenience stores, with retailers and shopworkers across the country with a new law and tougher sentences for attacks on shopworkers because everyone has the right to feel safe at work.”

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Effective penalties are a vital part of tackling retail crime, and something we have long campaigned for. To get to the point where courts are actually in a position to use these penalties, we need the police to investigate every incident and pursue those who abuse and intimidate shopworkers and retailers.”