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RESOLVE Blog and Articles

Tackling violence and verbal abuse towards shop workers

Retail is Britain’s largest private-sector employer with 3 million workers employed in the industry. Now more than ever we can appreciate the important role that our shops play in our communities. From the local corner shop to the out of town superstore, shop workers provide a vital role in ensuring that people have the supplies and goods that they need. Yet despite their importance, violence, verbal abuse and aggressive behaviour towards shop workers have become a major problem.

Home Office figures reveal 590,000 incidents of assaults and threats in 2018 (up from around 200,000 incidents in 2016) putting them at their highest level since 2012. The British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) Retail Crime Survey 2020 reports a shocking 424 violent or abusive incidents every single day.

Behind these statistics are people who have directly experienced violence while simply doing their jobs. The Co-op has supported research to highlight this important issue as part of their Safer Colleagues, Safer Communities campaign.

In the last 12 months, I know of colleagues who have been physically injured with axes, needles, machetes and knives in unprovoked attacks. I know of colleagues that have been dragged through their store, who have had knives held to their throats, or been made to kneel down with guns or other weapons held at their head. They have been screamed at, threatened, and left scared to travel home from work. The impact of these incidents last a lifetime, not just on those directly involved but it affects their colleagues, their families and their communities.

(Shop worker)

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  • I would recommend Resolve’s antisocial behaviour Quality Assurance Framework (QAF) as a fantastic way to have an independent refresh of your ASB service to ensure community safety partnerships are delivering a high standard of victim care.

    Jo Grimshaw, Antisocial Behaviour Manager
    Jo Grimshaw, Antisocial Behaviour Manager Surrey Police
  • The process was very straight forward and turnaround was very quick. The Resolve associate was knowledgeable and helpful. The feedback was returned in an easy format and informed our policy development going forwards.

    Samantha Allcott
    Samantha Allcott Housing Plus Group
  • The exercise was really worthwhile, and I would recommend it to any organisation wishing to ensure they are providing a high-quality approach (which satisfies regulatory standards) to their customers when managing cases of antisocial behaviour.
    A huge thank you goes to Resolve who worked step by step through this process with us.

    Regional Business Manager
    Regional Business Manager Moat
  • Our old model was different in each region and business area, having a slightly different approach to investigation, recording and monitoring. By harmonising the approach and creating a Community Safety Hub bringing together ASB, domestic abuse, hate crime and community cohesion, Resolve is helping Riverside deliver excellence to its customers.

    Dean Butterworth, Regional Director
    Dean Butterworth, Regional Director Riverside Liverpool City Region
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