Lone Working in Retail & Logistics

Peoplesafe Archive

The retail sector in the UK employs approximately 3 million workers across 300,000 outlets.

The Facts*

  • In 2012-13 there were 38 incidents of violence and abuse per 1,000 employees
  • More than 20,000 shop workers are physically attacked each year and an even greater number are exposed to threats of violence and verbal abuse
  • Robberies per 100 stores increased from 4.8 to 7.1 – which is a 48% increase from the previous year
  • There are an estimated 2.7million offences across the sector
  • Customer theft accounted for 82% of all retail crime
  • The direct cost of retail crime was £511m in 2012-13
  • Retail shop theft at a nine-year high

Violence and abuse against retail and logistic staff remains an unacceptable threat to the health and wellbeing of the retail sector’s employees. There is no doubt that the retail sector experiences crime and antisocial behaviour, reports of violence, threats or verbal abuse within the sector is an ongoing issue.

The implementation of a lone working policy coupled with the use of lone worker devices can make staff feel safer when lone working and also improve the security of the retail outlet.

Lone workers are exposed to potential risks in their everyday work. Some of the main risks occur at times when:

  • They are opening and closing stores
  • Dealing with complaints or returned items
  • Refusing to serve certain customers – e.g. underage
  • Exposed to unpredictable behaviour by vulnerable customers – e.g. drug or alcohol issues
  • Carrying high value goods in transit
  • Handling cash
  • Areas Facing Threat

Various areas within retail and logistics organisations face threats from attack and robbery. Areas like instore distribution centres and logistics all face threat from robbery.

*Statistics taken from BRC Annual Report 2012/13