The Nation Retail Association (NRA) has called for greater protection for retail workers and customers, following the fatal stabbing of a bottle shop attendant in the Northern Territory.
Greg Griffith, CEO of the NRA, wants all State Governments to follow the lead of South Australia and implement legislation that makes assaulting a retail worker a specific offence.
“We know from our recent survey that 88 per cent of retail workers experienced abusive or aggressive behaviour at work over the previous 12 months, including 85 per cent who were abused while trying to prevent theft.
“Retail workers have the right to be safe at work, and not be physically or verbally abused. People who are there with the wrong intentions are not welcome and retailers should be able to exclude them.”
Griffith said the death of the young man in the Northern Territory is a tragic event and that their thoughts are with his family and colleagues.
“It underscores the need for stronger legislation to protect retail workers, and greater power for police to ban violent individuals from shopping precincts, just as happens in hotels and nightclubs.”
Griffith would like to see greater police presence in shopping centres and more powers to prohibit violent individuals from returning to a store.
“Nobody deserves to be attacked while they are trying to do their job, and we need urgent action from governments in the face of this escalating problem.”
When dealing with criminal behaviour, whether that be theft or aggression and violence, Griffith urged retail workers to put their own safety first.
“We are seeing more, and more brazen, attacks on retail sites. Workers always need to remember that their safety must come before every other consideration.”