Only 20% of retail workers satisfied with response to abuse or violence, survey finds

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A police car patrols the high street as people shop in the town centre on June 15, 2020 in Bournemouth, United Kingdom. (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)

Only one in five shop workers who reported incidents of abuse or violence were satisfied with the official response from the police or their employer, a survey conducted by the Home Affairs Committee has found.

The findings of the survey reveal that that 87 per cent of respondents had reported incidents to their employer but, in 45 per cent of these cases, no further action was taken. Half of respondents reported incidents to the police, of which only 12 per cent led to an arrest.

The survey, part of the committee’s inquiry into violence and abuse against retail workers, has seen the participation of over 12,000 retail workers.

“The sheer number of responses we have received shows just how widespread this problem is,: commented Yvette Cooper MP, chair of the committee.

“In far too many cases retail workers don’t report incidents as they feel nothing will be done or that they’re expected to deal with such appalling incidents as part of their job. That’s simply not the case and it’s clear that action is needed to change this.”

The majority of respondents had both witnessed and experienced verbal or physical abuse at work. Two thirds of those who reported incidents suggested no help was given to them after receiving an initial response from their employer or the police.

A third of respondents did not report incidents to their employer because they believed nothing would be done or it was ‘just part of the job’. Over a quarter did not report incidents because they believed the police would not do anything about it.

Respondents felt that better security at retail premises and more severe punishments for offenders would help prevent incidents in the future.