Retail figures expose growing threat of violence

Aodh�n Connolly
Aodh�n Connolly

The Northern Ireland Retail Consortium has called for stronger partnership working following the launch of the British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) annual Retail Crime Survey.

The Survey reveals a concerning spike in violence against staff causing injury, with the number of incidents happening at twice the rate of last year’s survey, the previous record.

In contrast the latest survey shows a noticeable improvement in areas such as fraud, where the cost to retailers has fallen by nearly £30 million across the UK, as a result of retailers’ significant investment in prevention.

Despite that spending, the total direct financial cost of retail crime has climbed to £700m- an increase of 6 per cent from the previous year. ‘Customer theft’ remains the largest element, now over half a billion pounds a year, a 15 per cent increase on the previous results.

“Retail directly employs nearly one in every 10 workers in NI and thousands more indirectly,” said NIRC director Aodhán Connolly.

“Retail already faces its own challenges, with margins shrinking, and against that backdrop the pressures that retail crime exerts are having a stronger impact.

“Attacks on retail workers are intolerable, and our members are completely clear that keeping their staff safe and providing an environment in which they can work free of fear from threats and violence, is their first priority.”