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BRC Report Shows that 13 Retail Workers are Injured Daily

On the 8th March 2017, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) published its annual crime survey, with the cost of crime continuing to rise.

Covering the period from 1st April 2016 to 31st March 2017, the crime survey once again pinpoints some concerning statistics, including a staggering 13 injuries, caused through violent behaviour, every day.

  • The rate of reported violence with injury has doubled in a year to 6 per 1,000. workers. At that rate, across all roles in retail, 13 individuals were injured every day of the year.
  • Crime is now costing the retail sector more than £700 million each year - a 6 percent increase on the previous 12 months.
  • 40 incidents of violence and abuse per 1,000 workers – this is the second highest level recorded.
  • The direct cost of customer theft has grown by £65 million, that is nearly a 15% increase.
  • Over half of the respondents see Police performance as poor, with 45% only seeing it as fair.

The fact that 13 retail workers were injured each day at work is obviously an extremely concerning statistic. Add the fact that violent behaviour was involved in many of these injuries and it only enhances the concern. So, what are the possible reasons for these worrying statistics?

Well, retail remains one of the largest employers in the UK, employing nearly 1 in every 10 workers, and a great deal of these are spending time working alone, or without direct supervision.

The BRC found that criminals intentionally use violence and abuse when being challenged over stealing. Asking for proof of age before a sale, or refusing the sale entirely, could also trigger a violent and threating reaction. If either of these situations occur, the risk of injury is surely greater if the employee is lone working?

Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be any sign of relief, and in fact, according to the report, the number of severe violent incidents towards retail staff is on the rise. Therefore, it’s imperative that your workforce is prepared should a situation arise.

Implementing processes and technology, such as a lone worker solution, allows staff to discreetly raise an alarm and, if appropriate, request a police response. They will also demonstrate you’re meeting your duty of care to your workforce and more importantly help give your employees peace of mind while they carry out their daily duties.

Police performance also received negative feedback from within the retail sector, with over half of respondents rating their performance as poor. This lack of confidence could lead to incidents of crime going unreported, or more seriously, see staff placing themselves in danger by trying to resolve an incident rather than call 999. Technology can also help in this situation by, for example, using Body Worn Video to capture evidence or utilising a solution capable of obtaining the quickest Police response via the use of Unique Reference Numbers (URNs).

Overall, the BRC crime survey highlighted concerning areas that require serious attention to reduce workplace risk and violence towards staff and it further highlights the importance of fully preparing your staff for any eventuality.

For more information on protecting your lone workers please visit here.

See here for a more in-depth view of the survey.

Article Published 9.3.2018