Support the 6000 retailers attacked each day, simply for requesting ID

Thursday, 30 March 2017

New research carried out by Under Age Sales, the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW) and the National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN) has revealed that almost 6000 convenience store workers experience verbal or physical abuse every single day as a direct result of asking customers for identification to purchase age restricted products.

Shockingly, over 250 racially motivated attacks also take place across the country each day.

Worryingly, a third of retail workers say such attacks have left them less confident in asking for ID, which raises stark concerns over whether young people may in turn have increased access to age restricted products such as alcohol and tobacco, which are potentially harmful and linked to anti-social behaviour.

According to the research, only a quarter (26%) of retailers who have experienced verbal or physical abuse when asking for ID have reported the incidents to police, and of those who did, 57% either did not receive a response, or were unsatisfied with the response they received.

One retailer told us that he was once attacked by a boy and two girls, who dragged him outside, then punched and kicked him, just for refusing a sale when the customer didn’t have appropriate ID. He reported the incident to the police, however the customer was given a verbal warning lasting just two months.

The other experiences shared by the respondents are equally shocking:

  • “In the last two years, I've been physically attacked twice as a result of refusing to serve someone without ID. On one occasion, they leaned over the counter, grabbed me and shouted in my face. On the other occasion, someone took the shopping out of their basket, item by item, and threw each one at me.”
  • “I have been threatened with a knife.”
  • “Racial abuse happens if you stick to your guns and refuse a sale. All sorts of unnecessary and discriminatory comments can be hurled at us as the customer leaves the store. Should we sit back and just consume, retaliate or what?”
  • “My car was vandalized as a result of asking for ID from a 15-year-old. A member of staff left the business shortly afterwards as he was too scared to continue.”
  • “I've had stock thrown at me over the counter which has resulted in damaged goods. We've also had numerous display stands replaced because they've been thrown across the room.”
  • “Receiving abuse after asking for ID is a weekly occurrence for me. I’m very often told they will be waiting for me outside when I finish my shift, which is very intimidating. We are only doing our job and the implications of failing to get it right can cost us our jobs.”
  • “I have been spat at and verbally abused countless time, just for refusing a sale.”

We’ve now launched a petition calling on retailers, their families and friends, and members of the public to help support us in our mission to change things for retailers. We want the government to bring in a specific sentence for magistrates to use against those who attack retailers when they’re asked for ID. Doing so would help protect retailers from fear of attack, reduce repeat attacks and deter the few members of the public who are physical towards retailers from doing so.

Retailers who want advice and guidance on the law around age restricted products, and who wish to learn more about the new training, should contact us