25 April 2024

Bira has said more needs to be done to protect shop owners, workers and shoppers following troubling statistics released by the ONS, adding the figures show how serious the situation now is.

John Halliday, Marketing Director for Bira, said:  "The latest ONS crime figures paint a troubling picture for independent retailers and businesses across the UK. The 37% increase in shoplifting highlights the significant challenges faced by our sector. Retail crime not only inflicts financial losses but also poses a grave threat to the safety and well-being of shop staff and customers."

Bira also recently ran its own survey which further exposes the harsh realities endured by those working in retail. The survey revealed that a staggering 35.5% of individuals had experienced verbal abuse within their shops. Moreover, incidents of physical abuse remain alarmingly high, with an increase in shopkeepers facing violence, including threats with weapons such as needles, knives, and even instances of hammers being thrown at them. Shockingly, 70% of those physically assaulted opted not to report the incidents to the police.

Mr Halliday added: “It's imperative that urgent action is taken to address this concerning trend and ensure the security of both businesses and their employees and customers. Bira has been trying to tackle this issue for a long time and will continue to work with the Home Office and police forces to better protect businesses, their owners, and people who work in the shop.

Bira urged authorities to take immediate and decisive action to combat retail crime, including increased police presence in retail areas, improved reporting mechanisms, and enhanced support for victims. The association remains committed to advocating for the safety and security of independent retailers across the country.

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