Grim Violent Crime Figures Announced

| General

Grim Violent Crime Figures Announced

The British Retail Consortium has recently released the results of its eye-opening report on the criminal activity faced by those persons working in the retail sector.

Who Did The British Retail Consortium Ask?

There survey was taken from a pool of businesses from the retail sector who firstly had a turnover of just short of two hundred billion pounds and secondly had a workforce of just over one million people.

What Did The Survey Find?

The answers to the survey questions were revealing. Those answering the survey made the following findings, it revealed that:

  • Losses of around one and a half billion pounds were accrued by retail businesses due to violent crime
  • less than five percent of violent crime against retail staff were notified to the law enforcement authorities
  • just short of 75 per cent of the respondents to the questions rated the law enforcement reaction to their reports as substandard
  • on a daily basis, as a sector hard-working and dedicated retail staff are subjected to around fifteen hundred violent related incidents and
  • just over twenty of these retail staff received an injury of a physical nature as a direct result of the incident.

Why Are the Numbers So High and Rising?

There were a number of issues which appear to underlie the extremely high violent crime numbers which have impacted on the retail sector. These include but are not limited to the:

  • advent of social distancing due to the Covid-19 Pandemic
  • policy of mandating members of the public to wear face coverings
  • young persons under the legal age attempting to purchase nicotine and alcohol related products
  • abuse of various illicit substances and
  • the activities of organised criminal gangs.

However, by way of balance the British Retail Consortium were quick to opine their belief that there was no direct correlative and causative relationship between the social distancing measures and the imposed wearing of masks and the number of violent incidents. The BRC claim this is a symptom of a pre-existing trend.

How Can Retailers Safeguard Their Workforce?

By law, those businesses employing staff in the retail space are under an obligation to safeguard their staff against abuse and violence. They are required to do this by way of risk assessments. The law in this area appears to draw a line of distinction between such incidents which are foreseeable and those which are unforeseeable. If the employer foresees a risk of harm then they are under a legal obligation and a duty to create a written record of the risk. Following a positive identification of a risk the employer is under a duty to take preventative steps with a view to reducing the impact of such risks materialising.

Mitigation, Mitigation Mitigation?

So, what action can employers be taking to mitigate the risk. The Health and Safety Executive appears to have put a great deal of thought into how employers of the workforce can respond to this important piece of research. The HSE made numerous suggestions including but not limited to:

  • introducing and operating an incident reporting book
  • limiting times when members of the workforce are operating on their own
  • providing training on how to identify red flags of unruly behaviour from prospective customers visiting the retail outlet
  • ensuring there is a basic knowledge of a person’s background, history and circumstances
  • the provision of security features such as closed circuit television, visible security guards and a good relationship with the police and protocols in place and
  • reviewing all current protocols to ensure they are operating correctly to protect staff safety.

The Legists Content Team


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[1] Byard, Jim – Retail crime survey highlights growing concerns over workplace violence – 20th July 2022 – Weightmans - Growing concerns over workplace violence | Weightmans

[2] British Retail Consortium - Crime Survey 2022 - crime-survey-final-report.pdf (

[3] Bateman, Robert – Law Firm Fines Quartrupled Over Two Years, Mostly Due to Money Laundering Compliance Failings – GRC World – 1 August 2022 - Law Firm Fines Quadrupled Over Two Years, Mostly Due to Money-Laundering Compliance Failings (

[4] Violence at Work – Health and Safety Executive - Statistics - Violence at work (



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