As retail crime seems to become more violent, we must assess the dangers and risks faced by all of us, including family, staff and customers.
Our staff are given the advice that while stock and cash are replaceable, they are not. They are taught to speak calmly and politely during an escalating incident, and to stay on their side of the counter. But quite often, how we expect our staff to behave is completely different to the instinct in built in many of us.
We recently received a letter from our local council entitled ‘Violence at work initiative – Helping Britain work well’. The letter stated that employers had a legal requirement under health and safety law to protect employees from health and safety risks, including work-related violence.
It recommended a risk assessment into work-related violence, measures such as CCTV, and good practices around cash handling and staffing levels. Training, legal options and partnership working all need careful consideration, it said.
Partnership working is key for many retailers who have suffered from retail crime in recent years. Retailers should be treated the same as members of the public who suffer a burglary, robbery or assault. But often police forces across the country downgrade retail offences as a crime number or statistic rather than an investigation.
By working with retail associations such as the Association of Convenience Stores, every retailer can ensure that retail crime is on the agenda and we can go about our work without fear of attack and communities can continue to benefit from the service they receive from their local shop.