Informa Markets

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May 18, 2012

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Protecting shop staff from violence

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has published new best-practice guidelines for retailers, aimed at increasing awareness of the impact of violence against retail staff.

The guide, ‘Tackling Violence Against Staff’, is endorsed by the Usdaw union, and aims to challenge the perception that abuse of shopworkers is acceptable. Actions being taken by retailers to keep their staff safe include:

  • having clear policies against violence and abuse
  • robust store-based risk assessments
  • appropriate store layout, security and preventative measures
  • good staff training and reporting procedures, and
  • providing support for staff after incidents.

John Hannett, general secretary of Usdaw, said: “We share the BRC’s concern that reports of threats and verbal abuse have escalated and the rise in robberies over the last year shows that there is no room for complacency.”

Usdaw and the BRC both expressed their concern about the response of the police and the criminal justice system to retail crime, particularly in view of the proposed 20% cut to police budgets.

Catherine Bowen, the British Retail Consortium’s head of crime, commented: “Our new guidelines will help businesses be sure they’ve done all they can to prevent staff from being attacked or abused. 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.”

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