Portsmouth MP steps up unified campaign against shoplifters as abuse and attacks against staff on the rise

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Pressure is being ramped up against shoplifters to stop the rise of threats and attacks against staff.

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan joined campaigners from the USDAW union for Respect Shop Workers week last week. He is also lobbying the government to take action to curb the rise in shoplifting and abuse of staff.

Police have reported a huge spike in incidents with reports between April and September this year nearly doubling since last year. The force have been trying to clamp down on the thievery, charging multiple people for various offences.

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Portsmouth MP Stephen Morgan at the Co-op store in Queen Street.Portsmouth MP Stephen Morgan at the Co-op store in Queen Street.
Portsmouth MP Stephen Morgan at the Co-op store in Queen Street.

Mr Morgan spoke to staff and union members at the Co-op store in Portsea, condemning the rise in abuse and assaults. He said: “I am proud to support USDAW’s campaigning to send a signal that violence and abuse against retail workers will not be tolerated any longer.

"Now more than ever I encourage shoppers in Portsmouth to treat shop workers with kindness, particularly in the run-up to Christmas when the number of incidents increases as shops get busy and customers become frustrated.” According to USDAW statistics from their annual survey, 65 per cent of their members experienced verbal abuse in the last 12 months, 42 per cent were threatened by customers and five per cent were assault.

Out of all these incidents, 60 per cent were triggered by shoplifting – two thirds of which were linked to addiction. Co-op have reported a large rise in incident in its stores nationally.

On average, there are 1,000 incidents every day in the first eight months of this year at their 2,500 stores, which is a rise of 41 per cent.