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November 17, 2023


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“It’s time for this behaviour to end”: Peoplesafe ramps up retail campaign

Peoplesafe demonstrates its support for The Retail Trust Retail campaign saying there are 6.8 million employees concerned for their safety either at work or commuting in the UK which is “unacceptable”.

According to research carried out by Peoplesafe, in the retail sector specifically, £246 million has been spent on crime prevention in the past 12 months. However, despite this, two in three employees are able to pinpoint safety mitigation options that their employer should implement that are currently not available to them.

With almost half of retail workers facing aggression from customers every week, the firm says that this is having a notable effect on staff turnover, with 42% considering quitting their jobs or leaving retail.

The 2022 Crime Report of the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) showed that, between 2021-22, 89% of store staff working alone faced abuse in their job, with 35,000 incidents of violence and over 16,000 incidents including the use of a weapon, of which 9% resulted in injury.

Peoplesafe says rates of abuse is rising from last year and 56% of respondents attributed rising prices as the cause for shoppers taking out their frustrations on them. The reputation of the sector also having a knock-on effect on recruitment, with nearly two thirds of employees not taking a frontline public-facing role due to safety concerns.

Further reading: Retail theft: The growing frontline threat in a cost-of-living squeeze?

Peoplesafe believes that improving retail safety through technology is one way to alleviate these concerns, adding that two in three employees would take up a personal safety solution if offered and 50% of employees were more willing to take on a public-facing role if safety technology was put in place.

With recruitment and retention being such a major issue for retail, Peoplesafe are working with retailers to provide app technology that makes the commute feel safer, which is especially important during the darker winter months. Automated welfare checks and timed check-ins provide a greater level of reassurance and support for anyone commuting in retail at unsociable times.

“This is unacceptable”

Peoplesafe is supporting The Retail Trust Respect Retail campaign, which is backed by major retailers including Primark, Co-op and bp, and urges for incidents not to go unrecorded, as one in four admit they don’t report abuse as reported from research by The Retail Trust.

Through partnering with the Retail Trust, Peoplesafe aims to minimise the pressures that retail colleagues face, through the provision of personal safety solutions.

Further reading: Retailers and policing brought together as UK Government launches Retail Crime Action Plan to tackle shoplifting epidemic

Chris Brook Carter, Retail Trust CEO, says: “Thousands of shop workers tell us they now fear for their safety, and this is unacceptable. Every day we hear from people being shouted at, spat on, threatened or hit at work, sometimes several times a week, and we’re very concerned by this. One person told us they were hit around the head by a shoplifter with a metal basket, another was knocked out cold by an angry customer, and this is in addition to the regular vile insults and threats they receive.

“It’s time for this behaviour to end. We would like to see every incident recorded and acted upon so that our colleagues can receive the protection and support they need and deserve. Abuse should never be part of anyone’s job so we’re delighted to partner with Peoplesafe who share our goal to keep all retail workers safe at work.”

Naz Dossa, Peoplesafe CEO, says: “Employees have a clear right to feel safe and secure when doing their job. Partnering with the Retail Trust supports our ongoing dedication to creating safer work environments for all.

“Whilst we can’t prevent all negative situations, we can provide the support to employees to ensure that negative experiences are fleeting and dealt with effectively. Technology can play a key role in achieving this but more is needed to overcome these challenges. In working together, we hope to continue to protect and improve the lives of people in retail and create a more sustainable and successful future for the sector.”

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