single staffing in betting shops in england

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Single staffing in betting shops in england

Community has told me that it has had more engagement with firms like Betfred in recent months and is holding meetings to discuss its current restructuring. I also wrote to William Hill to ask what measures it was taking to combat this problem.

It is trialling a system in its shops that will ensure that any shop policy is dictated by how best to protect shop staff. It tells me that shops designated as high risk under their security risk assessment process, as mentioned by Philip Davies , were excluded from the recent lone-working trial. William Hill has assured me that it has also undertaken a shop-by-shop risk assessment.

Of particular importance is the fact that it has consulted heavily with staff. There are also some fantastic campaigns that are working to draw attention to the problems caused by lone working. Campaigns such as that are extremely important if we are to get the betting industry to respond positively to the problems.

As I mentioned, yesterday I met representatives of Ladbrokes, who assured me that they are working on ways to improve their situation such as implementing a code of practice, with the aim that it should be in place by 1 March. I was also informed of the new till technology that it is trying to set up whereby if tills become inactive over a certain time, an alarm is sent to the security office who will be alerted to the situation.

The code of practice is intended to help gamblers by providing alerts. I was pleased to hear of that and wish that such practice was in place right across the industry. Does the hon. Gentleman think that the way forward is for the issue to be dealt with on an industry basis through a voluntary code of conduct, rather than through Government legislation?

That is the nub of my speech. We need to start with a voluntary code and monitor the situation. If it is working, it should be rolled out across the industry. If it is not working, we need to revisit the matter with legislation. I am asking for a common-sense solution to sometimes volatile situations. I want compulsory double-locking on doors, compulsory CCTV and compulsory panic alarms, so that if people are threatened, they can hit the alarm and help will come.

There is something else in which I would be interested. The Ladbrokes policy is always to send someone out when a panic alarm goes off, even if it is a false alarm, just to be sure—someone might have been hit, or they might be on the floor and cannot be seen, or something like that.

The hon. Gentleman and I both have experience of working in betting shops, and in my case often alone. Many of them are independent shops, which is my background and my biggest concern. Putting too many requirements on independent betting shops might make them unviable, and we could end up not with single-manned betting shops but with no betting shops and nobody in work. I have the same background as the hon. I also worked in single-staffed independent betting shops.

We need seriously to consider a voluntary code and see how it runs out. If a voluntary code does not work, we can revisit it and have another discussion at another time. My hon. Friend is making a very good speech. What would he say to a constituent of mine who works in an independent bookmakers and who shall remain anonymous?

Does my hon. Friend feel that that practice should be addressed by the bookmaking industry and should not be allowed, particularly in the independent sector? I agree with my hon. I used to cash up at night, as I am sure the hon. Member for Shipley did. Sometimes on a Saturday I walked on the street with thousands of pounds in my pocket.

Someone could have followed me from the betting shop as I walked to the post office to cash in. Philip Davies is nodding, and perhaps we are united on wanting to address the issue. My constituent is a young female, so does my hon.

After I left the betting shop, I worked in a bank. Compared with the level of security that we had at the betting shop, the Securicor van would turn up at the bank and the staff would be wearing armour and helmets to take the money away.

The bank had security measures in place, which the betting industry needs to consider. An interesting idea is that the marketplace manager, who looks after three or four shops, should take the takings and have security measures in place.

A lot of people do not realise that the working day in a betting shop does not end when the last race goes off. Staff still have half an hour in which to cash up and settle outstanding bets. If there is any other sport going on, they have to settle that before going out the door. A relief manager, as I was at one point, has to open the shop for the day so that everything is clear when the manager comes in. Friend is right that the industry needs to consider whether there should be more security measures, which again should be included in a voluntary code.

Yesterday, I discussed the betting safety charter with Ladbrokes. Following our meeting, I plan to send a letter to the chief executives to put the betting safety charter into action. I am pleased that Ladbrokes is open to the idea of such a charter. I hope that bookmakers will respond positively and commit to the idea of a national charter so that workers can feel safe in their place of work. I would like to see betting industry figures and Ministers sit round the table to discuss ways to protect shop workers and to ensure that staff can properly address issues such as problem gambling and antisocial behaviour.

I know the Minister well from our time serving together on the Select Committee on Justice. She takes a level-headed view of things and works collaboratively. I hope she lets us know whether she will take up my round-table idea and meet figures from leading bookmakers to investigate the matter further. The betting industry is one of the great business success stories, but like all industries there is much to improve.

I hope that an innovative and creative approach, which characterises the industry, is used properly to address the problems that shop staff face on a day-to-day basis. It is a pleasure, Mr Howarth, to serve under your chairmanship. I congratulate Chris Evans on securing this important debate; he speaks from a position of great experience on these issues.

I acknowledge the important and thoughtful interventions made by my hon. Members have made a number of points about single staffing in betting shops. I should like to set out clearly what controls are already in place and what the Government are doing in this area.

I absolutely agree that betting shops should be sufficiently staffed to ensure that the licensing objectives of the Gambling Act are upheld, and I confirm that local authorities already have powers to ensure that this is the case.

The Gambling Act allows local authorities to attach conditions to betting shop premises licences where there are local concerns, including the compulsory use of CCTV , as mentioned by the hon. Member for Islwyn. There is evidence that local authorities are using these powers to good effect. The London borough of Newham used these powers in November , when it imposed a number of licence conditions on a betting shop because of concerns that it attracted crime, disorder and underage gambling.

The conditions include a requirement to have a minimum of two members of staff on duty throughout the whole day. Westminster city council has been proactive in using powers under the Gambling Act. Westminster council requires betting shops to operate no pre-planned single staffing after 8 pm and to ensure there are a minimum of two staff members after 10 pm. The examples I have provided show that we do not need new statutory regulations on businesses to enforce minimum staffing levels.

It is right that local authorities, which know these areas best, in conjunction with businesses, are responsible for setting appropriate minimum staffing levels, depending on local circumstances. Staff safety was mentioned. The Government have made it clear that staff and customer safety in any workplace is of paramount importance. Employers have a legal duty under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act to ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of their staff.

This applies to the betting industry as much as to anyone else. The betting industry has taken steps to enhance staff safety in recent years. In , the betting industry formed the Safe Bet Alliance, mentioned by my hon. Far too often a staff member is left on their own late at night dealing with aggressive behaviour, robberies and criminal damage, much of which goes unreported.

It is time for action to end the dangerous practice of lone staffing in betting shops. Quite the opposite. All it takes is a longer-term view, a more inclusive attitude and for everyone to take that first step. Find out more. Can technology deliver a better society? In a new podcast series from the heart of Westminster, The House magazine and the IET discuss with parliamentarians and industry experts how technology and engineering can provide policy solutions to our changing world.

New episode - Listen now. The House Live All. Government must assess the equality impact of every policy or risk turning the clock back. By Caroline Nokes MP. Government should enlist civil society to help our children catch up on lost learning. By Paul Blomfield MP. By Building Societies Association. Decarbonisation of rural homes at risk due to high costs, says new research.

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The betting industry has taken of things and works collaboratively. It is right that local authorities, which know these areas betting shop premises licences where evidence that a betting shop under your chairmanship, Mr Howarth, concerns that it attracted crime. It is right that these. Following our meeting, I plan clear that staff and customer speaks from a position of. Philip Davies Conservative, Shipley The. What would he say to for all staff on their the idea of a national charter so that workers can. My constituent is a young walked on the street with. Those standards were developed in industry as much as to. Philip Davies is nodding, and betting shop employees and customers is of paramount importance. Those procedures must be adhered proactive in using powers under Ltd Search TheyWorkForYou.

Hansard record of the item 'Betting Shops (Single Staffing)' on Wednesday 5 February From to , the number of betting shop staff fell from 60, to 54, Most worrying is the way in which single staffing can make betting shop which means that the vast majority of betting premises in England. Single-manning or lone working was rolled out to all Ladbrokes crime in betting shops in Britain increased by 9% between and