New guidance to help protect shop workers from crime has been published.

Compiled by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and endorsed by shop worker’s union Usdaw, ‘Tackling Violence Against Staff’ is available to all retailers looking to protect their staff.

The guidance offers advice to retailers on the legislation covering shop workers, developing a safety policy, proper placement of security equipment, training and reporting of crime.

According to the latest BRC crime survey more than 35,000 shop workers suffered physical or verbal abuse or threats over the past year.

“Retailers invest considerable resources in protecting their workers, stock and property,” said BRC head of crime Catherine Bowen. “Protecting staff from violence means taking many factors into account, from the positioning of in-store CCTV to how those who do carry out attacks are prosecuted. Companies are doing a lot to prevent trouble occurring in the first place, for example by giving customer service staff training in how to avoid conflict.”

Bowen added that the guidelines will provide a checklist to ensure that they’ve helped staff as much as possible and urged the authorities to take a harder line on crime. “Our new guidelines will help businesses be sure they’ve done all they can to prevent staff from being attacked or abused,” she said.

“The question that remains is whether the police and criminal justice system are doing all within their power to protect the country’s three million retail employees. Those who are violent or threatening towards our staff are as guilty of a crime as anyone who behaves that way on the street. The police response needs to reflect that.”

The guidelines were welcomed by USDAW general secretary John Hannett. “We share the BRC’s concern that reports of threats and verbal abuse have escalated and the rise in robberies over the last year shows that there is no room for complacency,” he said.

The guidance is available to download on the BRC website.