The British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) latest annual crime survey has revealed that more than 35,000 members of staff working in retail suffered physical or verbal abuse during a 12-month period.
Leading retailers have come together to ensure the best possible measures are in place to protect shop staff from violence, after the BRC’s figures showed an 83 per cent increase in incidents when compared to 2010.
Retail workers are being urged by the BRC to report every incident to help them to build a bigger picture that they hope will encourage the police and criminal justice system to give the problem the attention it deserves.
In response to the survey’s findings, the BRC is publishing new guidance, Tackling Violence Against Staff, that aims to help retailers of all sizes improve staff protection. The BRC says that police and the criminal justice system need to respond more effectively when retail staff are attacked or abused.
Catherine Bowen, British Retail Consortium’s head of crime, said: “Retailers invest considerable resources in protecting their workers, stock and property. Protecting staff from violence means taking many factors into account, from the positioning of in-store CCTV to how those who carry out attacks are prosecuted. Companies are doing a lot to prevent trouble occurring in the first place, for example giving customer service training in how to avoid conflict.
“Our new guidelines will help businesses be sure they’ve done all they can to prevent staff from being attacked or abused. The question that remains is whether the police and criminal justice system are doing all within their power to protect the country’s three million retail employees.
“Those who are violent or threatening towards our staff are as guilty of a crime as anyone who behaves that way on the street. The police response needs to reflect that.”
BRC’s new guideline is available online at www.brc.org.uk/downloads/tackling_violence_against_staff.pdf