Employers urged to do more to protect retail staff from increased threat of violence and abuse

Dave Whittle – CEO of Positive Response

The latest 2015 British Retail Consortium (BRC) crime survey has revealed that violence and abuse against staff has increased dramatically by nearly 30 per cent in the retail sector over the last 12 months, with more than 40 incidents of violence and abuse for every 1000 employees.

Employers are therefore being urged to try and curtail this upward trend: the BRC survey highlights that ‘Retail staff continue to suffer an unacceptable level of violence and abuse at work’. And one of its key messages is that: ‘businesses should ensure they have adequate measures in place to protect staff from violence and abuse on the shop floor’.

Dave Whittle, CEO of Positive Response, commented: “Businesses have a Duty of Care to identify any potential threats to their staff, this includes the threat of violence and abuse. The results of the BRC retail crime survey demonstrate that employers are not doing enough to ensure the safety of their staff and last year alone there were over 120 thousand incidents in the industry.”

“Under the new health and safety guidelines, published this month by the Sentencing Council, businesses could face serious penalties for failing to meet their Duty of Care. Retailers must be aware of the services and technology available to help protect staff safety and wellbeing and promote a positive working environment.”

The BRC estimates that there were over four million criminal offences committed last year against the retail industry. The crimes, which include robbery, fraud and cyber-attacks, cost the industry £613 million in 2015, the most ever recorded. “This statistic is shocking and does not even begin to cover the cost to the sector of time lost through sickness and stress by employees, who have been a victim of verbal, physical abuse and crime,” said Whittle.

Positive Response Website