The ACT Party will introduce tougher sentences for offenders who attack victims in the workplace if elected to Government this year.
“Workers on the frontline are facing an increasingly violent New Zealand,” party leader David Seymour says.
“It’s time to take an approach that puts victims first, so New Zealand’s shopkeepers, taxi and bus drivers, security guards, small retailers and other frontline workers can operate without fear.”
He says the party will amend the Sentencing Act 2002 so judges must take into account the fact a serious violent offence occurred against a worker during their course of work as an aggravating factor.
That means if a victim suffered a serious violent crime in their workplace or during the course of their work, a judge will be able to hand down a longer sentence.
Particular regard should be taken if the worker and/or their family was particularly vulnerable, for example if they were working alone, or had an adjoining home.
“The frequency and intensity of retail crime is on the rise,” Seymour says.
“We see shocking images of workers being assaulted in the media every day.
“Dairy owners and other small retailers are now putting themselves inside cages so criminals can’t get behind the counter.
“There is no place for this kind of senseless violence in New Zealand. The law needs to reflect this.”
Seymour says police data shows there were 18,769 aggravated robbery victimisations from 2017 to April 2023, but only 8,162 proceedings.
“Every instance of aggravated robbery in a workplace represents an instance where the worker faces a risk of real harm.
“Too often, workers on the frontline of an aggravated robbery suffer completely unprovoked assaults, making the prospect of an attack even more distressing.
“It’s time we sent a message to New Zealand that crime will be punished, that criminals can’t get away with committing senseless violent acts on people trying to earn a living, and that victims are at the heart of the justice system.”