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British Retail Consortium’s new ‘Tackling Violence Against Staff – Best Practice Guidelines for Retailers’

Posted by Tracy Seward

Why is the British Retail Consortium (BRC) wasting time on developing guidelines on violence when retailing is on its knees? Surely trying to find ways to cut costs or stimulate trade in the high street would be a better plan? Well, when you look at the context in which these guidelines have been developed it gives some insight into why it was essential to help retailers understand what can be done to help protect workers and their businesses.

The latest Annual Retail Crime Survey, published by the BRC in January 2012, showed that retail crime cost UK shops £1.4 billion in 2010/11. The most worrying trend was the increase in violence directed at retail staff. Over 35,000 staff had suffered physical or verbal attacks or threats just trying to do their job. In areas where there is a greater fear of violence and intimidation, retailers report a greater turnover of staff and higher incidents of sickness or absence. Unfortunately, many employees now appear to accept this abuse as ‘part of the job’ and some employers don’t understand how much it costs the business to fail to manage the risk.

The Tackling Retail Violence Working Group was set up with the intention of providing useful advice to retailers enabling them to better protect their staff from violence and abuse.

The high-level guiding principles set out in the guidelines are:

• That there should be clear policies and procedures relating to violence in the workplace. These should be well communicated to retail staff so that they understand that violence in the workplace will not be tolerated and understand how the organisation will support them from violent or abusive acts.

• An important element is the training of retail staff in conflict management will help them to identify potentially violent or abusive situations from escalating. Where practicable, training should be scaled according to the roles and responsibilities of individual employees.

In anticipation of the BRC guidelines and in response to requests from Praxis42’s retail, leisure and hospitality customers a new Conflict Management eLearning course has been developed to help meet the intent of Section 4 of the guidelines.

For more information about this RoSPA approved course please contact help@praxis42.com or call 0870 446 4201

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