Some retail staff caught up in the riots two weeks ago were left “extremely frightened” by events and may quit their jobs.
So finds a snapshot survey of retailers by the British Retail Consortium, which also reveals that respondents lost over 7,500 hours of trading and that more than 11,000 members of retail staff were affected by the violence.
The survey sample was made up of BRC members responsible for 27% of UK retail sales. The damage to the sector as a whole will therefore be considerably higher.
The research is being submitted to the relevant police forces to contribute to their impact assessments, which will be used in the trials of alleged offenders.
Amongst anecdotal evidence of the impact of the violence on retail staff, comments included: “Some staff were extremely frightened by events; a few have indicated that they will be considering their careers in retail.”; “There was fear of coming to work and not being able to get to work. Two colleagues were mugged and assaulted on their way home. Colleagues were in store when looters hit.”; “Some staff were caught still in one of the stores when it was broken into and had to escape through the rear – an extremely frightening experience.”
The BRC says the comments are a reminder that attacks on retailers are not victimless.
Said director of business Tom Ironside: “The thousands of people who work in shops have been the forgotten victims of the riots. The scenes of violence and looting which broke out two weeks ago were frightening even for the majority of us who were watching them on television or reading about them in the papers. To have been in a shop as it was attacked or set on fire must have been terrifying.
“Strong punishments are appropriate for the perpetrators of this violence to reassure the 3m people who work in the retail sector that their safety is taken seriously,” he added. “It’s sad to hear of retail staff reconsidering their career choice because they feel vulnerable at work.”