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Violence and abuse towards shop workers increases to 1,300 incidents a day

A crime survey carried out by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) shows a 50% increase in levels of violence and abuse towards shop workers. During 2022/23 there were 1,300 incidents a day compared with 870 a day in the previous year.

The abuse includes racial abuse, sexual harassment, physical assault and threats with weapons, and is on a par with the levels of abuse retail workers experienced during the pandemic when safety measures frustrated many.

Theft costs have increased to £1.8 billion from £953 million the year before, with 45,000 incidents a day.

These increases are all despite retailers investing £1.2 billion (compared with £722 million in the previous year) on CCTV, increased security personnel, body worn cameras and other security measures.

The survey also indicated a high level of dissatisfaction with the police, 60% of respondents describing police response as ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’.

Katy Bourne OBE, Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner and APCC Lead for Business Crime, has described the levels of retail crime as revealing “an unprecedented level of selfish lawlessness.” She has urged greater police focus on the problem.

Calls are being made for a standalone offence to be introduced for assaulting, threatening, or abusing a retail worker in the hope that this will help deter offenders. Retail workers in Scotland already benefit from such a law, where this offence was introduced in 2021.

Retail business owners continue to need to assess the risks and consider what measures they can take to effectively protect their staff and business.

See: https://brc.org.uk/news/corporate-affairs/retail-crime-a-crisis-that-demands-action/

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