Oct 1 it will be illegal to sell cigarettes to anyone under the age of 18. The same restriction is likely to be introduced on the same day for the sale of knives. The current age restriction for both is 16.
The BRC, which supports both changes, believes that if the new limits are not adequately communicated to affected customers there may be an increase in threatening behaviour, verbal abuse and violence against shopworkers. They will be the ones who have to say "no" to 16 and 17-year-olds who could previously buy these items.
Checkouts are conflict flashpoints where restricted goods
are concerned. Saying no can be unpleasant, particularly in the face of intimidation,
abuse and even violence.
Retailers are keen to
help reduce smoking and knife crime among young people , but
they will need the support of the police and communities.
The BRC's Annual Crime Survey reveals
almost a quarter of small to medium-sized retailers believe it is likely they will lose a member of staff as a result of crime, violence or anti-social behaviour.
No worker in any
employment should be subjected to threatening or violent behaviour of any kind.
The g overnment needs to
ensure teenagers are aware of the changes and the police need to be alive to the fact that these changes may lead to an increase in the number of conflicts in retail outlets.
The BRC is
discussi ng with
how to ensure the public and shopworkers are aware of changes to restricted sales legislation ahead of Oct 1.
Director general, BRC