The United Kingdom
A survey conducted by the British Retail Consortium into crime
and the retail sector found that more than 11,000 retail staff were the victims
of physical violence, and more than 350,000 staff were the victims of threats
and verbal abuse.13 The survey, the third of its type, covered the
1994/95 financial year.14
13 Brooks and Cross, 1996, p. 17.
14 These results are based on a detailed postal
survey which drew results from companies trading through 53,000 outlets in the
United Kingdom with an annual turnover of £81 billion. Respondents
accounted for 44 per cent of total United Kingdom retail sales. See Brooks and
Cross, 1996, p. 6.
As with last year, the majority of physical attacks
occurred when staff were trying to prevent theft (59 per cent). Other causes of
physical violence are dealing with troublemakers (16 per cent), robbery
incidents (10 per cent), angry customers (5 per cent), drunk or drugged people
(5 per cent) and other circumstances (5 per cent).
Whilst the survey questionnaire did not ask about the number of
staff murdered during the course of business, it is unfortunate that retailers
reported a number of such incidents, although this particular crime continues to
be very rare in relation to the number of staff who work in the retail industry.
However, it is encouraging to report a reduction in the number of physical
attacks against staff, which may be attributed to better training emphasizing
that staff safety comes first.
The risk of actual physical violence is 5 attacks per 1,000
staff, threats of violence 35:1,000 and verbal 81:1,000. Off-licences [shops in
the United Kingdom selling alcoholic drink for consumption elsewhere - similar
to late-night convenience stores in United States] continue to have the highest
risk of actual physical violence 12:1,000, mixed business and DIY [Do It
15 Brooks and Cross, 1996, p.