Protection for millions of frontline staff to be bolstered by sentencing change

It comes with an amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

People who attack or abuse frontline staff, including shop workers, face stiffer penalties under a Government law change.

The amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will make the public-facing role of the victim an aggravating factor, adding to the seriousness of the crime and which a judge or magistrate must take into account.

The three new aggravating factors being added to the sentencing code include where the person attacked is providing a public service, performing a public duty or providing services, goods or facilities to the public.

The move, which follows a long campaign by unions, was welcomed in Parliament.

Introducing the legislative change, Home Office minister Baroness Williams of Trafford said: “We all agree that it is entirely unacceptable that workers in public-facing roles should face abuse and even worse.”

The amendment would “make it clear that such abuse will not be tolerated and put in statute that the public-facing nature of the victim’s role will be an aggravating factor when it comes to sentencing”.

Supporting the move, Labour peer Lord Kennedy of Southwark said: “I have first hand experience as a shop worker of some of the problems that shop workers have experienced.”

Labour frontbencher Lord Coaker said it would impact on “millions of people across this country”.

Praising Lady Williams for listening to concerns, he added: “What the minister has done is actually acted on it, has actually changed the legislation.”

Published: by Radio NewsHub