says increase in abuse and threats against shopworkers is extremely
THE shopworkers union Usdaw
says it is extremely worried by the increase in reported incidents
of abuse and threats against shop staff recorded by the British
Retail Consortium’s (BRC’s) annual survey of retail crime which has
been published recently.
The BRC says that, excluding the August riots, the total number of
reported incidents of verbal abuse, threats and violence against
shopworkers rose by 83% in 2011, driven by a more than three-fold
increase in threats and a five-fold increase in incidents of verbal
On a more positive note, the total number of physical assaults
against shopworkers reduced by 62.8% in 2011 and the total number of
incidents remains on a downward trend. Despite this year’s increase,
the BRC says the total number of incidents against shopworkers has
reduced by a compound annual rate of 30% in the past 7 years.
The BRC attributes part of the this year’s overall increase to staff
being encouraged to report all threats and incidents of verbal
abuse, although the report also highlights the fact that retailers
themselves still continue to report less than half of all incidents
of shoplifting (46.9%) to the police.
The BRC’s survey also details the human cost of the riots and the
appalling levels of violence and fear of violence faced by
shopworkers in August. In total over more than 5,000 crimes were
committed, including 1,860 incidents of arson and criminal damage,
1,649 burglaries, 141 incidents of disorder, 366 incidents of
violence against the person and 5 fatalities. The vast majority of
employers (81.5%) said their staff were fearful of violence with
around 33% reporting incidents of physical and verbal violence
John Hannett, Usdaw General Secretary said:- “The huge leap in
reported incidents of verbal abuse and threats against shopworkers
is extremely worrying and shows why we need to continue to work
closely with the BRC, employers, police and other agencies to reduce
all incidents of shop crime, create safer workplaces and ensure
offenders are brought to justice.
While the reduction in the number of assaults and continuing
downward trend in the total number of incidents is welcome news, our
own survey figures indicate there continues to be a significant
problem of under-reporting and that these figures remain the tip of
a very large iceberg.
Failure to report incidents is driven by the myth that shop crime is
‘victimless’ and a belief shared by many shopworkers and their
employers that little if any effective action will be taken against
perpetrators. Shop crime is never victimless and suffering abuse,
threats and violence should never be regarded as part of the job.
Shopworkers need to have real confidence that their employers, the
police and the courts will support them, particularly when so many
incidents result from staff themselves having to uphold the law by
for example refusing under-age sales or tackling shoplifters.
The government must also ensure the police and courts have the
resources to treat retail crime seriously. The Tory-led coalition’s
20% cut to police budgets and the predicted loss of 16,000 frontline
police officers and 1,800 PCSOs represent a real threat to the
safety of shopworkers and Usdaw will continue to campaign for these
swingeing and dangerous cuts to be reversed.”
health support plan
PLANS have been unveiled to
improve mental health support in Liverpool. A report to the
city council’s Cabinet on Friday 20 January is recommending spending
almost £250,000 upgrading and refurbishing day centres at Crown
Street near the city centre and Unicorn Road in Croxteth, which
between them support around 150 people.
It is part of a wider series of changes which will see them turned
into ‘hubs’ providing wider community services which will be open
for a longer period of time.
Intense periods of up to 3 months of ‘reablement’ support will be
introduced to help people return to mental wellbeing as soon as
possible, rather than becoming dependent upon services in the longer
A 3rd centre at South Drive in Wavertree which does not comply with
the Disability Discrimination Act will close and staff and the 47
people who use it will transfer to the 2 other hubs. Informal
consultation has already taken place with people affected by the
proposed change, and support groups have been established to make
sure they are involved at every stage.
The changes are part of the council’s ‘Transformation’ plan for day
care services, which will also see another 6 Health and Wellbeing
‘hubs’ created to provide help and support for people.
Councillor Roz Gladden, cabinet member for adult social care, said:-
“This is part of a wider plan to modernise services for people
who need mental health support.
We are going to be putting more of an emphasis on getting people
well again so that they don’t become dependent upon services in the
We are moving to a system where we have social care hubs around the
city which will offer a wide range of drop in services providing the
type of support which will mean people can live independently.
This is a significant investment in a new kind of care facility
which is completely changing the way in which we deliver services.
We are moving to a system where we are focused on meeting people’s
individual needs, rather than having to choose from a fixed menu of
social care services.”
The other 6 centres being created as part of the day services
► Lime Court in Kensington; the Lancaster Centre in Walton and Speke
Resource Centre – all open 12 hours per day
► A new dementia centre at Sedgemoor Care Home in Norris Green;
stroke support at Venmore Care Home in Everton and a service for
people who have suffered a fall at Granby Care Home in Toxteth – all
open around the clock.
us your views on this and any of are other reports to:-