Helensburgh MSP Jackie Baillie urges the public to “increase respect for our shopworkers” after “stark” assault statistics were revealed.

The Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (Usdaw) has unveiled that almost two thirds of retail staff have experienced verbal abuse.

And 42 per cent have been threatened by a customer while five per cent have been assaulted - with 60 per cent of incidents triggered by shoplifting.

Ms Baillie’s comments also come after police issued an appeal looking for four 13-year-old girls in relation to an alleged theft and an assault on a shopkeeper in Cardross Post Office just last month.

The Dumbarton constituency MSP said: “It is unacceptable that shopworkers go to work in fear of their own safety.

“These statistics are stark, as are the testimonies that go with them outlining how threatened shopworkers really feel and the real-life situations they have been faced with.

“I fully back Usdaw’s campaign to make the public aware of the situations retail staff face every day and to increase respect for our shopworkers.

“The situation cannot carry on like this and, while I welcome the changes in the law introduced by my Labour colleague Daniel Johnson MSP, there needs to be definitive action to prevent these crimes as well as prosecute them.”

Read more: Four Cardross teens attack village shopkeeper after Dragon Soop theft

The statistics as well as Ms Baillie’s comments come during annual Respect for Shopworkers Week which runs from Monday, November 13 until Sunday, November 19.

Usdaw members are currently raising awareness of the union’s year-round Freedom from Fear Campaign and talking to the public to promote their message of ‘respect for shopworkers’.

MSP Daniel Johnson introduced the Protection of Workers (Retail and Age-restricted Goods and Services) (Scotland) Act 2021.

The Act aims to give greater protection to retail workers, particularly where they are providing age restricted goods and services and applies to employees while they are on duty.

Since being passed, the act makes it a specific criminal offence to assault, threaten or abuse, and obstruct or hinder retail workers.