Figures released from the Office for National Statistics Crime Survey 2016/17 revealed some alarming figures regarding the retail sector within the UK. According to the findings, in 2016, the retail sector experienced the highest level of crime, an estimated 5.2 million incidents within the year.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) statistics show that one shop worker is attacked or threatened every minute of the shopping day in the UK. Alongside verbal threats and violence that retail workers face, the survey revealed that in 2016/17 customer theft remained the most common type of crime, accounting for 75% of crime by incidents and 66% of the direct cost of retail crime (£438m).
Retail is considered a significantly large industry sector in the United Kingdom. Thus, there are many occupations that fall within this field. The retail industry employs around 3 million people across 300,000 outlets in the UK. At times retail workers can find themselves working alone during late hours. Although people may not instantly associate retail jobs with danger, quite often these workers hold responsibilities that can make them more vulnerable to potential risks. These include; opening and closing the store at night, dealing with customer complaints, exposure to potentially hostile public, carrying high value goods and handling cash.
As previously stated, incidents involving retail staff happen every day all around us. However, one recent incident in particular emphasises the reality of the vulnerability of retail workers. This time last year, a shopkeeper in Nottingham was attacked at night whilst trying to protect his store from being shoplifted. The criminal was armed with a screwdriver and his face was covered to hide his identity. The attacker was eventually found and jailed, however, the shopkeeper was left with lasting physical injuries after being stabbed multiple times. This poses the question as to whether retail workers are safe when performing their daily tasks? What protection, if any, is put into place to protect their wellbeing?
It is evident that the retail industry staff within the UK face major safety risks. Therefore, it is important that retail workers know how to minimise these risks so that they can feel safer whist working.
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