retail workers

WA introduces tough new laws to protect retail workers

The WA Government has significantly increased its penalties for those who assault retail workers, as well as jail time for serial shoplifters.

The new ‘assault retail workers’ offence is now in effect in WA, seeing individuals who attack staff in the course of their duties face up to seven years in prison, or three years and a fine of $36,000.

Paul Papalia, WA Police Minister, said these tougher penalties send a strong message that violent behaviour towards staff simply doing their job won’t be tolerated.

“WA Police do an incredible job tracking down shoplifters and holding them to account but some serial offenders don’t get the message. Under these new laws, if shoplifters continue to disregard the law they will go to prison.”

The tougher sentencing options are significantly higher than the previous penalties of 18 months behind bars and a fine of $18,000. Also, if the offender is armed or in the company of others, the penalty rises to a maximum 10 years’ imprisonment.

“Just like other Western Australians, retail workers have every right to feel safe in their workplace,” said Papalia.

Repeat shoplifters will also face potential jail time of up to two years and a fine of $24,000, with the Cook Government sentencing reform removing the ‘fine only’ penalty limit for those convicted of stealing, or attempted stealing, when they have two or more prior convictions for similar crimes in the past year.

John Quigley, WA Attorney General, said these reforms ensure the justice system has the power to reflect community expectations and imposes appropriate penalties for these types of crimes.

“The Cook Government doesn’t tolerate cowardly acts of violence against retail workers.

“The retail sector plays a crucial part in WA’s economy and staff shouldn’t be threatened or subjected to acts of violence in their workplace.”

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