HORRIFIC stories of shopworkers being held at gunpoint, headbutted and threatened with needles were brought to light at a debate arranged by Mike Amesbury.

The Weaver Vale MP and shadow employment minister arranged the Westminster Hall debate to highlight the worrying issue of violence against people working in retail and to call for more protection for those working in the industry.

Mike asked the Commons digital team to put out a survey online which brought back some horrifying stories of violence and abuse.

He told MPs: “Some of the responses received were absolutely shocking; stories of employees being racially abused, watching colleagues being stabbed and punched, and even being held at gunpoint.

Doctor Emmeline Taylor, in collaboration with the Co-operative Group, conducted a study which traced the psychological impact of the violence and highlighted the incidence of post-traumatic stress disorder in employees after their assaults.

Mike said: “The psychological impact described by doctor Taylor is all too clear in many responses.

"One worker from Bristol said that he developed severe PTSD and panic attacks after he was assaulted at work—another victim of these callous criminals, who affected his livelihood, and who affect that of major retailers.

“Looking at the responses, it is obvious that some retailers can do more to support their staff, as many do not feel protected or defended by employers.

"It is also clear that staff want legally set and enforced standards of behaviour from the public.”

The union has also called for Government action, including tougher sentences for those who attack shopworkers, changes to the 'out of court' disposals system which it says is failing to have an impact on reoffending and a full review into the response of police forces to incidents of violence in retail.