In the three months after the passing of a new law designed to protect shopworkers from abuse by shoppers, nearly 300 cases of retail staff abuse took place in Scotland.

Figures shared by the Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF) have shown that 285 cases of shopworker abuse took place in Scotland in the three months after the Protection of Workers Act was brought in in August.

Between 24 August and 30 November, statistics from the Scottish Business Resilience Centre showed that 285 incidents of threats and abuse in shops were reported to Police Scotland.


Cases such as this have seen a significant rise since the pandemic, as customers have taken out their anger about facemask rules and other restrictions on the retail workers who have been asked to enforce them.

SGF has started a Don’t Put Up With It campaign in a bid to fight back against retail crime.

Dr John Lee, the organisation’s head of policy, said: “The message is getting out loud and clear that it’s unacceptable for anyone to threaten or abuse Scotland’s retail workers. Those responsible will be punished.

“While every incident is one too many, the statistics show that the Protection of Workers Act is effective, is much needed and that store owners and their staff are unafraid to use it.

“What’s more, it’s reassuring to see how serious[ly] Police Scotland are treating the complaints made, with every incident reported either having been investigated or under active investigation. This gives retailers confidence that these crimes are being taken seriously.”