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Peoplesafe supports Retail Trust to tackle the ‘Intolerance Epidemic’

Peoplesafe has partnered with the Retail Trust to support the charity’s Respect Retail campaign to help protect and improve the lives of people working in retail,… View Article


Peoplesafe supports Retail Trust to tackle the ‘Intolerance Epidemic’

Peoplesafe has partnered with the Retail Trust to support the charity’s Respect Retail campaign to help protect and improve the lives of people working in retail, amidst new research revealing that 47% of retail workers are left feeling unsafe with rising public aggression being the main cause of safety concerns.

  • Two in five (41%) are now shouted at, spat on, threatened or hit every week
  • 66% said the incidents had left them feeling stressed or anxious about going into work
  • 42% are considering quitting their jobs or leaving retail

Concerns for safety and experiences that make employees fearful are too common within the UK workforce, with 6.8 million employees across varying sectors worried about their safety every week, as they either work or commute to and from their job.

In the retail sector specifically, £246 million has been spent on crime prevention in the past 12 months. However, despite this, employers are continuing to let employees down, with 2 in 3 able to pinpoint safety mitigation options that their employer should implement that are currently not available to them.

With almost half of retail workers facing aggression from customers every week, this is having a notable effect on staff turnover, with 42% considering quitting their jobs or leaving retail. With rates of abuse rising from last year and 56% attributing rising prices as the cause for shoppers taking out their frustrations on them*, the growing reputation of the sector is doubtless having a knock-on effect on recruitment. Nearly two thirds of employees would not take a frontline public-facing role due to safety concerns.

Leading personal safety software and technology provider, Peoplesafe, believes that improving retail safety through technology is one way to alleviate these concerns. 2 in 3 employees would take up a personal safety solution if offered and 50% of employees were more willing to take on a public-facing role if safety technology was put in place.**

With recruitment and retention being such a major issue for retail, Peoplesafe are working with retailers to provide app technology that makes the commute feel safer, which is especially important during the darker winter months. Automated welfare checks and timed check-ins provide a greater level of reassurance and support for anyone commuting in retail at unsociable times.

Peoplesafe is supporting The Retail Trust Respect Retail campaign, which is backed by major retailers including Primark, Co-op and bp, and urges for incidents not to go unrecorded, as one in four admit they don’t report abuse.

Through partnering with the Retail Trust, Peoplesafe strives to minimise the pressures that retail colleagues face, through the provision of personal safety solutions. Dedicated to driving change and supporting improved personal safety for all, the goal is to enable retailers to support their most important asset, their people.

Chris Brook Carter, Retail Trust CEO, says: “Thousands of shop workers tell us they now fear for their safety, and this is unacceptable. Every day we hear from people being shouted at, spat on, threatened or hit at work, sometimes several times a week, and we’re very concerned by this. One person told us they were hit around the head by a shoplifter with a metal basket, another was knocked out cold by an angry customer, and this is in addition to the regular vile insults and threats they receive.

“It’s time for this behaviour to end. We would like to see every incident recorded and acted upon so that our colleagues can receive the protection and support they need and deserve. Abuse should never be part of anyone’s job so we’re delighted to partner with Peoplesafe who share our goal to keep all retail workers safe at work.”

Naz Dossa, Peoplesafe CEO, says: “Employees have a clear right to feel safe and secure when doing their job. Partnering with the Retail Trust supports our ongoing dedication to creating safer work environments for all. Whilst we can’t prevent all negative situations, we can provide the support to employees to ensure that negative experiences are fleeting and dealt with effectively.  Technology can play a key role in achieving this but more is needed to overcome these challenges. In working together, we hope to continue to protect and improve the lives of people in retail and create a more sustainable and successful future for the sector.”

*Retail Trust survey among UK retail workers.  Total response size was 1,639 people who have had previous contact with the Retail Trust. The survey took place online between 9 August and 25 August 2023 and due to the sensitive nature of the subject was carried out anonymously.

**Peoplesafe research into perceptions of personal safety. Response size 2,081 employees and 1,093 employers.

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