Of those surveyed, 74% have experienced verbal abuse over the past year

The level of violence and abuse against shopworkers has fallen from its Covid peak, but remains higher than before the onset of the pandemic.

According to retail trade union Usdaw, which has today published its annual survey of 7,755 retail staff, 74% have experienced verbal abuse, 49% were threatened by a customer, and 8% were assaulted over the past year.

In comparison with 2021, these have dropped from 89%, 63% and 12% respectively, as Covid triggers for abuse, such as face masks and social distancing. have gone, according to Usdaw general secretary Paddy Lillis.

However, the level of incidents faced by retail workers remains higher than before the pandemic, highlighting a need for “better co-ordination to ensure that retail employers, police and the courts work together to make stores safer and give staff the support and confidence they need”, Lillis added.

In 2019, 68% experienced verbal abuse, 43% were threatened by a customer and 5% were assaulted.

“Usdaw’s findings are another appalling reminder of what so many retail workers are subject to,” said BRC CEO Helen Dickinson. “It is a basic right to go to work without fear, and yet our most recent crime survey showed there are 850 incidents of violence or abuse each day.

“A confrontation may be over in minutes, but for many victims, their families and colleagues, the physical and emotional impact can last a lifetime. To make the UK a safer place to work, the police must prioritise adequately resourcing retail crime.”

ACS CEO James Lowman added: “There is no excuse for abuse of our retail colleagues, but it is still a regular occurrence for thousands of people working in shops across the UK.

“We’re working with the Home Office, Crimestoppers and thousands of retail outlets across the country on the ShopKind campaign to remind customers to be kind to store colleagues and to each other and continue to call on police and crime commissioners to make retail crime a priority in their local plans.”

The findings followed the same trend as the annual retail crime survey published by the BRC last week. The trade association also found that violence and abuse against shopworkers was higher than pre-pandemic, while the total cost of retail crime stood at £1.76bn in 2021 and 2022.