Copy of Shopworker attack

Over eight in 10 UK retailers have experienced crime in the last six months and 19% are considering leaving physical retail because of crime levels, according to new research from commercial insurer NFU Mutual.

The study, which involved 500 retail decision makers, revealed that over two thirds of retailers say crime has worsened in 2023, with more than a quarter experiencing violence against themselves, their staff and their customers.

This year alone, 82% of retailers have had to take security measures to protect their business from crime. The high street is now commonly seeing the use of bodycams (17%) and panic alarms (21%), with a quarter of shopkeepers security tagging expensive products or more products than before. As attacks on staff also become a concern, 17% of retailers have trained employees in self-defence and personal safety and 18% are displaying signs to warn customers against aggressive behaviour. One in ten shopkeepers have also had to keep doors locked to control crime.

Over a quarter of respondents (27%) said the impact on their own and their staff’s mental health is their most pressing concern and almost one in five (19%) live in fear of organised gangs targeting their shops.

James Jordan, commercial specialist at NFU Mutual, said: “Our study shows that retailers of all sizes are unfortunately struggling as incidences of theft and violence rocket in our shops, but it is also clear that retailers are making huge efforts to protect their stock, staff, and premises.

“Our retailers are at the heart of our communities and local economies so it’s crucial they feel protected and supported should the worst happen.”