Violence in the Retail Industry    

Violence against shop workers is a long-standing issue within the retail community. From verbal abuse to physical assaults, these hardworking individuals face unacceptable risks.

A Growing Concern

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has released its annual Crime Survey for 2023, which revealed that incidents of violence and abuse against retail workers have almost doubled on pre-pandemic levels.  

Shockingly, over 400 retail workers daily face a torrent of violence and abuse in the workplace. This undoubtedly has a detrimental impact on the staff who are subjected to it, leading to increased staff absences and reduced feelings of safety in the workplace and the local community. The consequences are far-reaching. The statistics underline the gravity of the issue and underscore the need for proactive action. 

New legislation was introduced in 2022, which means people who attack shopworkers now face tougher penalties, as part of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts (PCSC) Act. Attacking any individual who serves the public, including shopworkers, is now an ‘aggravated offence’. 

Safeguarding Employee Safety - a Multi-Pronged Approach

Retailers can play their part by reporting incidents, gathering and recording relevant evidence and working closely with the police to ensure things are dealt with appropriately.  

Control Measures  

Physical Security – the first line of defence. 

  • Consider store design. Improve visibility with good lighting, open layouts and minimal blind spots. Secure valuable items. 
  • Encourage digital payment options to minimise cash exposure and potential robbery attempts. Restrict access to cash handling areas 
  • Use CCTV to cover entrances, exits, and key areas. Consider panic buttons, intruder alarms, and access control systems.  
  • Cashiers should be provided with puncture-resistant gloves and training on safe cash handling procedures. 


Training and Procedures – empowering staff. 

  • Equip staff with verbal and non-verbal de-escalation skills. 
  • Train employees on conflict resolution. 
  • Establish clear procedures for reporting all incidents of threats and violence. 


Workplace Culture – communication and open reporting. 

  • Implement and communicate a clear zero-tolerance policy regarding abuse towards staff.  
  • Regularly discuss safety concerns and procedures with staff. Encourage communication and open reporting of any issues. Ensure adequate staff on hand, particularly during peak hours and in vulnerable areas.  
  • Provide support to staff who experience violence, including counselling and legal assistance. 


External Collaboration – partnering with law enforcement and industry groups. 

  • Build relationships with local police to improve response times and cooperation, should there be an incident. 
  • Collaborate with other businesses in the area to implement collective security measures and share relevant information. 
  • Take advantage of support and guidance offered by industry associations and safety organisations. 

The Role of Workplace Violence Risk Assessment

In today’s dynamic work environment, workplace violence risk assessment is a critical tool, offering managers insight into potential threats and guiding the implementation of preventive strategies.  

Risk assessment software offers many benefits. It serves as a shield, identifying hazards specific to your workplace. It can consider factors like the nature of your industry, client interactions, physical layout, and even employee well-being. 

The iProtectU risk assessment software provides the most comprehensive range of risk assessment types and templates available in any system of its type. It helps organisations identify and manage potential violence risks more effectively. This leads to better decision-making, regulatory compliance, increased transparency, and continuous improvement. By analysing suggested key aspects, employers can unearth potential flashpoints and tailor preventive measures.  

Risk Assessment Software

In the face of potential threats, proactive measures hold the power to safeguard our retail workers and build a stronger, more secure future for each establishment.

Share on social media

Latest Updates & Information

The future of Health and Safety software – today! Leaders in EHS Software, GRC Software, safety, risk, governance and compliance software