Row of shops on a highstreet

Dealing with in-store confrontation or violence as a retailer

11 September 2019
In the 2019 crime report from the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), violence against staff was found to be the number one risk that retailers were concerned about. They also found that 83% of convenience store staff surveyed had experienced verbal abuse in their role.
Whilst no workplace is safe from violence, the retail industry has unique risks that make the industry more susceptible to violence against staff, such as frequent cash handling, night shifts, valuable merchandise and often an easy escape route.  Take a look at the guidance and infographic below on how to avoid confrontation or violence in your shop.

Violence in the workplace is broken down into 4 different groups, known as:

  • Criminal intent
  • Client or customer incidents
  • Worker to worker incidents
  • Domestic violence incidents
Violence can be either physical or verbal abuse which can be written threats or harassment, physical violence such as assaults, bullying or sexual harassment.
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Although violence can occur in almost any workplace, there are precautions that can help to avoid violent confrontations in a retail environment:

  • Have a zero-tolerance policy against staff abuse, publish this in store and take any threat made seriously.
  • If possible, be seen to be moving around the store frequently to give the impression that you are always watching.
  • As long as they aren’t fire doors, lock any doors that could be an escape route.
  • Relay any strange behaviour to your staff, such as people loitering around the premises so that everyone knows to be vigilant.
  • Have a direct line for your local constabulary in the event that there is an incident and make sure all relevant staff know what this is.
  • Be able to recognise the signs of stalking of a member of staff, whether this is from a member of the public or a colleague.
  • Learn how to avoid violent incidents through diffusing and de-escalating.
  • Encourage staff to share lifts for late shifts if possible.
  • Take note of any security or safety concerns.
  • Create a written report of any incidents as quickly as possible.

Making sure that you can effectively handle conflict resolution and dangerous situations is, unfortunately, a necessity in the retail industry, so also ensure that you adhere to your company policies and cooperate with your management team.

At Premierline, we understand that there is a huge variety of businesses in the retail sector, which is why we can help arrange the right shop insurance for your business. Our insurance advisors will assess your business’ needs and work with some of the UK’s most well-known insurers to find you competitive quotes that suit your business.
It is important to make sure that you have the right insurance in place to protect the business that you have built. Every business is different and has its own business insurance needs, which is why we work with some of the UK’s most well-known insurers to ensure that you are getting the right insurance cover for your business.
The information and tools contained in this guide are of a general informational nature and should not be relied upon as being suitable for any specific set of circumstances. We have used reasonable endeavours to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the contents but the information and tools do not constitute professional advice and must not be relied upon as such. To the extent permitted by law, we do not accept responsibility for any loss which may arise from reliance on the information or tools in our Insight Hub.