British Retail Consortium release 2020 Crime Survey

Abuse and aggression towards staff in the sector, continues to rise.

March 2020 sees the British Retail Consortium (BRC) release their latest edition of the annual Retail Crime Survey, which again highlights a range of issues facing our UK retailers. Unchanged from last year’s survey is the member focus on violence and abuse being directed towards staff, as the type of crime causing principal concern.

Some of the key points covered in this area that are highlighted by the report include:

  • That retail staff face “a torrent of violence and abuse in the workplace”.
  • Figures show a 9% annual increase in violence or abuse being directed towards staff, since 2019.
  • This equates to 424 such incidents, every day on average (280 of which are classified as violent incidents)
  • A call for increased penalties and sentences for offenders attacking shopworkers
  • A call for review of root-cause offending, specifically driven by addiction, to better support earlier intervention
  • Encouraging Police and Crime Commissioners to include violence in Retail as a priority for each force, within their Police and Crime Plans

The report also highlights the ‘Major Triggers’ for aggression as Encountering Theft, Age Restricted Sales and Intoxicated Persons. ‘Secondary Triggers’ included those Encountering Attempted Fraud, People with Mental Health Issues, and Racially Motivated Attacks. Increasingly, incidents are linked to activities carried out by organised criminal gangs – where violence is readily used and weapons are frequently carried, principally knives.

Other issues faced in the sector include –

  • The total cost of crime is estimated at £2.2 Billion
  • A record £1.2 Billion being spent on crime prevention within the sector
  • 70% of respondents in the sector described the Police response as either ‘Poor’ or ‘Very Poor’.

The BRC’s Chief Exec, Helen Dickinson OBE, was quoted as saying, “Violence is a scourge on our industry and the three million people who work tirelessly to deliver for customers around the country. . . This report should be a wake-up call for many of our politicians. For too long they have left retail workers to fend for themselves.”

Read the full 2020 Retail Crime Survey.

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