Preventing Violence to Shopworkers Today and Everyday

Violence against shop workers is a pervasive issue.

According to a survey conducted by the British Retail Consortium, there were around 455 incidents of violence or abuse towards retail staff each day in the UK.

That means there are over 160,000+ reported incidents per year, that’s before we start thinking about the un-reported incidents.

Why are some (lots according to the above stats), abusive, threatening or violent incidents still going unreported?

Protecting shop workers from violence requires a multi-faceted approach involving employer responsibility, legal provisions, and societal awareness.

However, their occupation often exposes them to various risks, including verbal abuse, threats, and even physical violence.

Protecting shop workers from such incidents is not just an ethical responsibility but a legal obligation for employers and society at large.

Understanding the Risks

These incidents can have severe consequences, both physically and mentally, for the employees involved. To address this concerning trend, ‘preventative’ measures must be implemented.

Steps Employers Should Take

Comprehensive Training Employers should provide thorough contextualised training to staff, focusing on conflict resolution, de-escalation techniques, and recognising potentially volatile situations.

This equips employees with the skills to prevent and manage challenging interactions effectively.

Improved Security Measures: Enhancing security systems within shops, such as installing CCTV cameras, alarm systems, and adequate lighting, serves as a deterrent and provides valuable evidence if incidents occur.

Clear Policies and Procedures: Establishing and communicating clear policies against violence and aggression, along with procedures for reporting incidents, creates a supportive environment for employees to speak up, seek help and ensures swift action can be taken.

Risk Assessment: Regularly assessing the risks and vulnerabilities of the shop environment helps identify potential hazards and allows for the implementation of targeted solutions.

Legislation and Regulations

The legal framework regarding the protection of shop workers varies across jurisdictions.

In the UK, for instance, the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act 2018 was extended to cover retail staff.

This legislation increases the penalties for assaults on workers, acknowledging the vulnerability of shop employees to violence.

Moreover, the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 requires employers to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of their employees, including protection from violence and aggression.

Failure to comply with these regulations can result in legal repercussions for employers.

Common Law and Protection

Let’s be clear no one should be expected to knowingly place themselves in harm’s way or be expected to remain in situ if they believe they are about to be harmed.

Every strategy towards staff safety must include having an exit plan in place, so that staff can move away safely and effectively to a position of safety, whilst raising the alarm to trigger the arrival of backup and support.

Common law principles provide guided measures to protect people, property, and the public.

This includes the legal right to use reasonable force in self-defence or the defence of others and property.

Shopkeepers have the right to take necessary actions to protect themselves, their colleagues, and their premises when faced with imminent threats.

However, these actions must be proportionate to the threat perceived and should aim to de-escalate situations whenever possible.

Seeking assistance from law enforcement should be a priority if a situation escalates beyond the control of shop staff.

What needs to be done?

It’s imperative for employers to prioritise the safety and well-being of their employees by implementing preventive measures, complying with regulations, and fostering a culture that promotes constantly improving staff safety.

By collectively addressing these issues, we can create safer environments for shopworkers and ensure that they can perform their vital roles without fear of violence or intimidation.

How can we help you?

Through Our BTEC Level 3 Award in The Delivery of Conflict Management Training

This course you will be able to obtain the BTEC Level Award in the Delivery of Conflict Management Training.

This is a Nationally Recognised Qualification issued by an Awarding Organisation (Pearsons) which is Regulated by Ofqual, which gives you a unique trainer qualification in this area of work.

The course comprises two Units and a breakdown of each Unit can be seen below:

Unit 1: Managing Conflict in the Workplace when Dealing with Customers, Service Users or the Public

This unit is intended for people who need a knowledge of conflict management when dealing with conflict with customers, service users or the public.

This unit covers how to avoid and manage conflict situations. It is applicable in a range of roles where there is direct contact with customers, service users and the general public.

The unit includes how communication skills can be used both to avoid conflict and to resolve problems once conflict has been defused.

It then considers the factors that influence human responses in a conflict situation, for example, triggers and inhibitors, and moves on to ways in which to assess and reduce risks in conflict situations.

The unit also covers how communication skills can be used to de-escalate conflict and post-incident issues, such as support and the importance of sharing good practice.

In order to pass this unit, the evidence that the learner presents for assessment needs to demonstrate that they can meet all the learning outcomes for the unit.

The assessment criteria determine the standard required to achieve the unit.

On completion of this unit a learner will:

  1. Know how communication can be used to solve problems and reduce the likelihood of conflict
  2. Know the factors that influence human responses in conflict situations
  3. Know how to assess and reduce risks in conflict situations
  4. Know how to communicate effectively and de-escalate conflict in emotive situations
  5. Know good practice to follow after conflict situations

Unit 2: Delivering Scenario-Based Conflict Management Training

This unit is intended for people who will be delivering scenario-based training in conflict management.

This unit allows trainee-tutors to apply their knowledge of conflict management to allow them to teach it effectively in a scenario-based approach.

They will learn about the principles and benefits of scenario-based conflict management training and about how to plan and design effective session plans and scenarios.

They will then have learnt about how to deliver an effective a training session, including debriefing participants afterwards, which they will have to put into practice by delivering a session that they have designed.

Finally, trainee-tutors will learn about different methods of evaluating effectiveness.

They will have the opportunity to put all of this into practice, being assessed on their ability to design and deliver a session plan and scenario, and afterwards to evaluate their own effectiveness.

In order to pass this unit, the evidence that the learner presents for assessment needs to demonstrate that they can meet all the learning outcomes for the unit.

The assessment criteria determine the standard required to achieve the unit.

On completion of this unit a learner will:

  1. Understand the principles of scenario-based conflict management training
  2. Be able to plan and design scenario- based conflict management training
  3. Be able to deliver scenario-based conflict management training
  4. Know how to evaluate own performance

Distance / Guided learning – All Materials Pre-Prepared for You!

If you choose to do you Conflict Management Award with us you will be given all of the resources required to complete the vast majority of the work required for all of Unit 1 and part of Unit 2 by distance learning.

The documentation for all of the learning requirements above has been already produced for you. Including resource material and links to appropriate web-resources where appropriate to help you complete each task effortlessly and with ease.

Teaching Practice and Micro-Teaching

Teaching practice is not a requirement to achieve the unit in this qualification other than as micro-teaching for assessment purposes.

Candidates should be involved in at least one 30-minute micro-teaching session, which should be observed and assessed by a member of the delivery team as well as the learner.

Course Duration

1 Day


The BTEC Level 3 Award in the Delivery of Conflict Management Training.

Course Benefits

The benefits of being a properly qualified BTEC Level 3 Conflict Management Trainer can open up new opportunities for you and add an additional income stream into your organisation or consultancy.

By law, any person providing advice must be suitably qualified and competent to do so and by undertaking this Award you will be demonstrating that you have completed a formal process of learning, development and assessment.