Retail security company, FRL Retail Security Services, welcomed The British Retail Consortium (BRC) new best practice guide for retail employers, which aims to increase awareness of the impact that violence against staff has on employees and to challenge the perception that abuse of shop workers is acceptable. The guidelines called ‘Tackling Violence Against Staff’ are endorsed by trade union Usdaw. These 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.
Usdaw’s Freedom From Fear campaign against violence and abuse of shop workers was launched ten years ago and has sought to raise the profile of the issue with employers, Government, police and others. While there have been significant breakthroughs in key areas to help prevent and reduce incidents, the Union’s last survey conducted in 2010 still showed that in the previous 12 months, 6 per cent of retail staff had been subjected to violent attack, 37pc had been threatened with harm and 70pc had suffered verbal abuse.
British Retail Consortium Head of Crime, Catherine Bowen, 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 do carry out attacks are prosecuted. Companies are doing a lot to prevent trouble occurring in the first place, for example by giving customer service staff 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.”
John Hicks of FRL Retail Security Services (a specialist division of Facilities Resource Limited – www.frl-group.co.uk) said: “Threats and verbal abuse of retail staff, as well as theft and robbery, are on the increase and we welcome the guidelines which will also serve to highlight the issues involved. It is no longer just a case of reviewing shop and retail cctv systems, how you tackle shoplifters or address the rise in shoplifting. ”
The BRC’s ten-page ‘Tackling Violence Against Staff – Best Practice Guidelines for Retailers’ is available online.