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It comes as the BRC’s latest crime survey shows 8,800 violent incidents resulted in injury 

Violent incidents in shops could cost the retail sector over £50m in personal injury claims from staff, according to Forbes Solicitors.

The insurance law firm told The Grocer retailers and insurers were increasingly at risk of covering such claims, as the sector continues to grapple with the retail crime epidemic.

Having reviewed employer liability claims over the past year through the national Claims Portal, which covers employers of all kinds, it found the average value of settled claims resolved was £6,026 per case.

In conjunction with the British Retail Consortium’s recent Crime Survey, which showed 8,800 of the 41,000 violent incidents in 2023 resulted in injury, Forbes Solicitors said the retail sector could be facing claims of around £53m from injured staff.

“Shop staff are being subjected to violent attacks, which puts their physical wellbeing and mental health at risk,” said Claire Opacic, a partner in the insurance team at Forbes Solicitors.

“Covering the costs of treatment, rehabilitation and loss of earnings caused by injuries are another consequence for retailers and insurers of a problem plaguing the retail industry.”

While the BRC’s Crime Survey showed retailers had spent £1.2bn on crime prevention measures to deter theft and retail violence, Opacic is urging retailers to take “the same proactive approach to upholding their duty of care as an employer”.

This could include checking they have updated risk assessments to reflect the increasing dangers against staff, as well as making sure they have the right insurance cover in place to minimise their liabilities for the actions of criminals.

The law firm added retailers could also be facing more expensive insurance, with the high risk of attacks resulting injuries pushing premiums up.

“Thankfully, not every incident of abuse or violence will leave staff injured,” added Opacic. “However, the sad reality is that shop staff are at risk from attacks and retailers need to approach this with belts and braces.

“Alongside physical crime prevention measures in store, retailers are best placed looking at staff training and support, and speaking with their insurers and solicitors to make sure their policies and risk assessments sufficiently protect both the interests of staff and employers in the event of personal injury.

“The value of employer liability claims via the national Claims Portal are capped at £25,000 per case. There may well be instances where retail violence leads to serious staff injuries with long-term impacts, meaning claims and settlements are significantly higher than the average of around £6,000 per settlement.”