>>more effective action is needed to beat threats and violence

Yet again, the British Retail Consortium’s annual Retail Crime Survey makes for grim reading.
Encouragingly, the survey says losses from retail crime fell by a staggering £700m - largely because of the huge investment retailers are making in crime prevention.
The grim bit relates to what BRC director general Kevin Hawkins calls the hidden cost of crime - violence against staff, which was up 17%. Just as worrying is the fact that verbal abuse of staff more than doubled year-on-year and threats to shop employees soared by 161%.
What’s worrying about the latter figures is that these are the sorts of incidents that are frequently ignored by the police, who always seem to have much more important things to worry about than the occasional punter who gets a bit lippy. Those working in bigger stores may well have plenty of support to deal with such people. But those working on their own in c-stores and off-licences often do not have such support. They look to the police and the courts to deal with aggressive and abusive customers who all too often turn violent. Sadly, such help is very often not forthcoming.
As the BRC points out this week, antisocial behaviour is on the rise in all stores. Such behaviour is increasingly caused by those who have drug and alcohol problems.
Hawkins says it is important that effective action is taken to tackle these issues - and that’s not something he feels retailers should be expected to do. We completely agree; maintaining law and order is a core responsibility of government. When it comes to preventing shop staff from being abused or attacked, the government could be doing much, much more.

This week we unveil a new online service that offers the grocery industry the very latest news, jobs and business information. The internet has revolutionised many industries - and publishing is one of them. The Grocer has always prided itself as being the place where the big stories break first. And that’s never been truer than today - given the fact we can now deliver news to your PC the moment it happens. It’s a great service and well worth checking out. You can join our revolution by going to www.thegrocer.co.uk.
Protect our shop staff
join our revolution