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New BRC Crime Survey Published

The 2016 British Retail Consortium (BRC) crime survey was published earlier this month and it threw up some interesting stats.

Retail crime has once again seen a severe rise in both online fraud and palpable incidents, such as violence and abusive behaviour directed at staff. See the survey here.

Still the largest private sector employer in the United Kingdom with a workforce of almost 3 million people - crime cost the retail sector a record £660 million in 2016, that's a rise of almost £50 million from 2015.

There were 3.6 million offences throughout last year, which is actually down a little, from 4.1 million in 2015. Of these offences theft is by far the most common type of crime.

However, it’s clear that violent attacks are on the rise and retail staff continue to suffer unacceptable levels of violence and abuse; an astonishing 40% increase from 2015. Incidences of violence against staff has therefore increased significantly, with the biggest increase in aggressive and abusive behaviour. In 2015-16, there were 51 incidents of violence and abuse per 1000 staff (up from 41 from the previous year).

This is also evident when you look at what the crimes retailers feel will represent the most significant threat to their business over the next two years. Violence against staff is up to 38%, a 28% rise from 2015. Retailers are clearly concerned about violent and aggressive behaviour and it’s understandable; a huge 71% of business have reported an increase in malicious incidents over the past two years.

As underreporting remains a significant challenge, the actual figures could potentially be a lot higher; given the fact that 56% of retailers believe police performance is poor or very poor, it's little surprise that retailers are not bothering to report crimes.

These are worrying statistics and it’s clear a lot needs to be done to protect retail businesses and their staff. Given a great deal of lone working is done in the retail sector it’s important to introduce measures to enable lone workers to have the necessary tools which will allow them to respond correctly to emergencies. This could, and undoubtedly should, involve appropriate training, thorough risk assessments, a lone worker solution, and a comprehensive lone worker policy.

For more information on choosing the right lone worker solution for you please visit – You’re not Alone.

Article Published 10.2.2017