Shop staff endured 25,000 instances of abuse or aggressive behaviour and 11,000 instances of violence last year, according to a new report from the British Retail Consortium.

The BRC today published new guidance for retailers that has been endorsed by the Home Office, the Association of Convenience Stores and the shop workers’ union, Usdaw, and is designed to offer ‘best practice’ advice on preventing and dealing with abusive behaviour.

The guidance follows a survey by the BRC which found that for every 1,000 employees, there were 38 recorded incidents of violence and abuse, many of which resulted in physical injury.

Crime prevention minister Norman Baker, who co-chairs the National Retail Crime Steering Group with the BRC, said violence against retailers was a “high priority” for the government. “The government supports the publication of these guidelines today, which we hope will help retailers better protect themselves and their staff and educate shop workers in how to diffuse potential flashpoints,” he said.

“We also hope this guidance will improve crime reporting rates which we know are under reported. We will not tolerate violence towards shop workers, and have been very clear that the courts can take into account violence against those serving the public as an aggravating factor in considering the appropriate sentence.”

BRC director general Helen Dickinson added that in tackling crime against shop staff, it was important that the criminal justice system dealt with those who threaten employees in the same way it deals with criminals who commit abuse and violence on the streets.

The guidelines, Tackling Violence Against Staff: Best Practice Guidelines for Retailers, can be viewed on the BRC website (PDF).