By Laura Higgins
Guidelines to protect the retail sector’s employees from violence have been launched today by the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
The report follows a retail crime survey by the BRC, which revealed that there were almost 36,000 incidents of violence or abuse last year towards shop staff.
The BCR guidelines aim to help shops of all sizes and improve the protection the retail sectors’ three million employees, making it clear that abuse from customers should not be considered as part of the job.
Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker said: "Everyone has the right to feel safe at work and the National Retail Crime Steering Group, which I co-chair with the British Retail Consortium, considers violence against retailers to be a high priority.
"We will not tolerate violence towards shop workers, and have been very clear that the courts can take into account violence against those serving the public as an aggravating factor in considering the appropriate sentence," he added.
The Guidelines are endorsed by Home Office Minister for Crime Prevention Norman Baker, shop workers’ union Usdaw and the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS).
Udsaw’s own survey found that one in four staff did not report the incident to their employer or the police in 2013.
The guidelines hope to demonstrate the extent of action to be taken by retailers to keep staff safe, including conflict management and offering effective procedures for when an incident occurs.
James Lowman, ACS chief executive, said: "Violence against staff and retailers is unacceptable but still a huge problem with 51% of convenience retailers reporting some experience of violence or verbal abuse in the last year. We are supporting this guidance document to aid retailers to mitigate violence in their business and support staff.”