Sheffield MP launches public consultation on changing law on shop worker abuse

The MP for Sheffield Hallam has launched a public consultation to gauge the size of the problem surrounding shop worker abuse in the UK.

Olivia Blake wants a dedicated criminal offence to be put in place to protect shopworkers after new figures suggest that the problem is getting worse.

Ms Blake said: "What I want to do is see how far I can take this as a representative to make a change and bring forward potentially some legislation in this area.

"No one should have to face abuse and I think it's really important that we look at our laws."

The Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers has said that the issue has become worse.

Sue Hodge who runs an off licence in Sheffield has said she believes the problem is linked to drug abuse.

"They hang around in groups and then come into the shop wanting alcohol and when I've refused to serve them you get called some horrendous names," she said.

"I've had in the past someone put the glass through the door or they've threatened to come back and started following me home."

"But I won't tolerate it and sometimes challenge them and ask 'would you say that to your mum or dad?'"

The Home Office says it's putting 20,000 extra police officers into communities to cut crime and that in April it launched a #ShopKind campaign.

It also said the Sentencing Council has set out guidelines for courts to increase sentences for assaults committed against those providing a service to the public.