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    Violence up in British retail outlets

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    The violence against shop staff in the retail sector in Britain has risen by 50 per cent in the past year, says a research.

    An average six incidents of physical violence per 1,000 employees were reported in 2006, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC), media reports said.

    The threats of violence against store workers more than doubled over the same period to 16 incidents per 1,000 staff.

    Verbal abuse aimed at shop workers was around 15 cases per 1,000 employees last year. Although still high, cases of verbal abuse fell for the second year running, the BRC’s annual crime survey found.

    The value of losses from detected theft – where the thief was caught and prosecuted – rose 8.5 per cent to £205 million over the year.

    Stores on average had 40 cases of detected shoplifting last year – the highest number in a decade. The average value of goods stolen in each case rose by £7 to £156, said the BRC’s 14th annual survey.

    Losses from undetected customer theft rose by at least the same percentage, boosting the total value of goods stolen from shops to £830 million in 2006.
    BRC director-general Kevin Hawkins said the current approach to tackling retail crime was not working.

    “Last year shop staff were subjected to around half a million incidents of abuse or violence in their workplaces and retailers clocked up even greater losses to theft,” he said.

    The BRC’s retail crime survey is based on responses given to its online poll of retailers who represent some 10,054 UK outlets.