29 Sep 2021

New campaign highlighting threats of abuse on retail staff gets Bira's backing

Bira is backing a new campaign highlighting the threat to retail staff of verbal and physical abuse.

Research published by Little Green Button - creators of a panic button software - reveals the mental and physical impact felt by retail staff with almost two thirds (65%) saying it’s made them anxious and around half that it has affected their mental health.

Often workers say they don’t feel supported by their employers or colleagues (51%) with around half saying they want better training to deal with assaults (46%)  or other measures like a security guard or panic button.

The research follows a recent NHS Staff survey report which found that more than a third of doctors have recently experienced verbal abuse and sometimes physical threats. In hospitals, it was most often nurses who were abused, while 96% of GPs had seen it happen to receptionists. Some NHS workers reported hiding their badges in public.

Managing Director of Little Green Button Alex Jay said: "Our statistics, highlight the extent of the harassment, violence and abuse that frontline staff face. This isn't a new issue and we feel that more needs to be done through policy, legislation and innovation to keep staff safe. With a specific standalone offence for assault on emergency workers, other staff working with the general public deserve the same level of protection. We implore those responsible for policy and legislation to reconsider their current stance as this is an ongoing issue with a tangible impact on workers physical and mental health."

In May, Bira called for better protection of retail staff. Full story here

Andrew Goodacre, Bira CEO, added: "The research by Little Green Button is yet more evidence of the abuse experienced by retail staff.

"This has been a problem for some time and the pandemic made a difficult situation even worse. The current fuel shortage is also giving rise to customers venting their frustration on staff who are only trying to do their job. The government has an opportunity to protect those who work in retail by changing the law to offer retail workers more protection.”#

Andrew talked to a host of national and regional radio shows today about the subject (Wednesday, September 29, 2021) including SKY News Radio, Wycombe Sounds, BBC Radio Norfolk and BBC Radio Leeds.

Do you feel safe in the work place? We'd love to hear your experiences, good and bad. Email

Bira Legal has provided this advice for retailers concerned about Covid-related abuse here

Additional Guidance and Resources