With more than 36,000 reported incidents of abuse and violence against retailers last year, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has issued guidelines with advice on how to protect employees.
According to the latest BRC Retail Crime Survey there were 38 incidents of violence and abuse per 1,000 employees in 2012-2013. This equated to 25,000 instances of abusive or aggressive behaviour towards staff and over 11,000 instances of violence, majority of which resulted in injury.
The Tackling Violence Against Staff guidelines issued by the BRC aim to help retailers of all sizes improve staff protection and make it clear that taking abuse from customers is not part of the job.
These guidelines are endorsed by Home Office Minister for Crime Prevention Norman Baker. Speaking about the guidelines he said: "The government supports the publication of these guidelines, which we hope will help retailers better protect themselves and their staff and educate shop workers in how to diffuse potential flashpoints.
"We will not tolerate violence towards shop workers, and have been very clear that the courts can take into account violence against those serving the public as an aggravating factor in considering the appropriate sentence."
Helen Dickinson, director general of the BRC, said: "Our guidelines are designed to help businesses of all sizes share and understand best practice in preventing staff from being attacked or abused."
The guidelines are also endorsed by the shop workers' union Usdaw and the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS).