New guidelines to help protect shopworkers from violence have been launched.

The British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) Tackling Violence Against Staff aims to help retailers improve staff protection and make it clear that abuse from customers is not considered ‘part of the job’.

As well as detailing regulations that employers must adhere to in order to offer protection to staff, it also contains a self-assessment survey on the workplace environment, reporting procedures, training and post-incident support mechanisms. A copy of the report is available here.

The guidelines come after the BRC Retail Crime Survey earlier this year revealed that there were 38 incidents of violence and abuse per 1,000 retail employees in 2012/13, which equates to 25,000 incidents of abusive or aggressive behaviour and over 11,000 incidents of violence across the entire sector.

The advice has been endorsed by crime prevention minister Norman Baker, Usdaw and the Association of Convenience Stores.

BRC director general Helen Dickinson said: “Retailers invest considerable time and resources in building and training their teams as well as protecting their workers, stock and property. Our guidelines are designed to help businesses of all sizes share and understand best practice in preventing staff from being attacked or abused.”

Dickinson also called on the authorities to do their part in tackling workplace violence. “Beyond what retailers can themselves do, it is important that the police and criminal justice system respond effectively to those who are violent or threatening towards people who work in retail,” she said. “They should be dealt with in exactly the same way as someone who commits such a crime on the street.”

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Violence against staff and retailers is unacceptable but still a huge problem, with 51% of convenience retailers reporting some experience of violence or verbal abuse in the last year. 

”We are supporting this guidance document to aid retailers to mitigate violence in their business and support staff.”