The National Retail Association has today welcomed the introduction of the Assaults on Retail Workers Bill in the New South Wales Parliament, saying tougher penalties will better protect front line workers from customer abuse.
New South Wales is the second State to introduce regulations, after the South Australian Government introduced regulations to protect retail workers from abuse.
Chief Executive, Greg Griffith has welcomed the announcement. “We are working with landlords, Industry experts, retailers from a range of categories, Police and justice representatives, and unions, to support businesses and the excellent work of the Police across the country,”
“While we understand that the majority of customers are in stores to shop and are well behaved, we need to support our workforce. We need to address the behaviour of aggressive individuals and demonstrate there are consequences for their actions. We need to send a clear message that ‘they are not welcome here.’” said Mr Griffith.
“In addition to the amendments introduced in South Australia, the South Australian Police Commissioner has allocated resources toward a dedicated Retail Crime Intelligence Officer, to identify and track the critical offenders responsible for most retail loss. Since its inception some months ago, over 370 arrests of recidivist offenders have occurred and over 1,000 convictions have been made.”
“This shows the law does have a positive impact for retailers, and communities, creating safer working and shopping environments. However, more power needs to be given to police to effectively act on aggressive individuals. Once an individual has been identified for ongoing behavioural issues, the Police should have additional powers to prohibit those individuals from entering retail precincts indefinitely.”
“The first step in this process is to create a pathway for action and ensure the data and reporting mechanisms accurately reflect the heightened rates in customer aggression. We urge retailers to increase the reporting of these incidents to police across the country to better protect all our retail workers and their peers.” said Mr Griffith.
The National Retail Association have made representations to all State and Territory Ministers, calling for consistency and reform in line with the South Australian and New South Wales laws.