Retail union Usdaw has pledged to protect its members from violence after the British Retail Consortium (BRC) reported a 50% increase in violence against shop workers.
The BRC's 14th annual crime survey revealed that incidents of physical violence against staff doubled against last year. The number of threats of violence more than doubled in the past year, and the number of incidents per employee rose by more than a third.
The survey also shows, for UK retailing as whole, losses from theft rose 8.5% from £189 million to £205m in a year. Losses to undetected customer theft are likely to have risen by at least the same proportion, bringing the total cost of goods stolen to £830m.
Usdaw general secretary John Hannett said: "We are working with employers, staff, local authorities, the Government and the police to promote local Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships, which aim to cut crime and anti-social behaviour in the retail sector.
"We are pleased BRC director-general Kevin Hawkins agrees with us that behind these alarming figures there is individual human pain and distress. It is unacceptable. The BRC's Annual Crime Survey is the most authoritative measure of retail crime, so I am very concerned about the reported increase in incidents last year, particularly those involving violence or the threat of violence to staff."