Daily Mail

Two in five UK shop staff face abuse weekly

- By Emily Hawkins

TWO in five retail workers face abuse from customers on a weekly basis, research has shown.

A survey of shop staff by the Retail Trust is the latest tranche of figures that shine a light on a retail crime wave blighting the high street.

Bosses at John Lewis, sainsbury’s and Boots have urged the Government to take action to protect staff as verbal and physical abuse increases.

Two in five (41pc) are shouted at, spat on, threatened or hit every week, and nearly half (47pc) are left feeling unsafe at work, the survey of more than 1,600 workers revealed.

Businesses have also warned of a shopliftin­g epidemic that has seen organised criminal gangs target stores.

Retailers have accused the police of taking incidents less seriously and in some cases not even turning up to reports.

One in four shop workers surveyed by the Retail Trust admitted they don’t report abuse.

Many said they felt it would be pointless and that previous unhelpful police responses had discourage­d them.

Tom Athron, managing director of department store Fortnum & Mason, said that the police need to actively follow up violent crimes ‘so that people understand it is totally unacceptab­le’.

separate research by the Institute of Customer service found that fewer than half of the victims reported cases of violence and shopliftin­g, as the incidents are so frequent that they believed reporting them would make no difference.

It follows a campaign by The Mail, which is also calling for the police, Crown Prosecutio­n service and courts to be tougher on shoplifter­s.

speaking last week, Lidl GB chief executive Ryan McDonnell said the grocer was investing £2m into the security measures to tackle ‘ the alarming rise of incidents facing retail workers every day’.

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