BRC research shows shop worker abuse on the rise

February 20, 2024


BRC report

A new British Retail Consortium (BRC) survey has revealed that violence and abuse towards UK shop workers rose to an average of 1,300 incidents per day last year, a 50 per cent increase from 2022.  

In a BBC report, retail staff detailed verbal abuse, shoplifting, racial abuse, sexual harassment and even physical assault. 

BRC findings  

The BRC’s figures highlight the importance of a security presence in retail spaces. 

Security officers represent a layer of protection that can deter people from committing crimes and abuse.  

This is especially important considering that 60 per cent of BRC respondents stated that the police response was poor or very poor.  

This suggests that a safety presence is needed prior to police intervention  

Security personnel provide much more than a physical presence, says BRC.

They are required to have soft skills that can help de-escalate threatening scenarios and communicate with people displaying violent or concerning behaviour.  

This should be the first option, with physical intervention only used as a last resort.  

Soft skills are just as important  

“It’s up to security providers to ensure that their officers are equipped with the necessary soft skills,” said Kieran Mackie, Managing Director, Amulet Security.

“In shopping centres, having an on-site security presence means officers are close by and on call without being obtrusive and is more cost effective than each individual outlet hiring their own security.  

“Officers also function as customer support throughout the area, helping direct people and answer questions, which is again where those soft skills are useful. 

“No retail worker should be scared to go to work or anticipate harassment or abuse of any sort.  

“Security officers can help reduce the likelihood of abuse and reassure retail workers that they are protected.”

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