Abuse fears stop 64% of shop workers implementing Covid-19 regulations

Almost two thirds of UK shop workers - 64 per cent - said they fear abuse from customers if they try to implement Covid-19-related regulations, according to research by Reveal.

Reveal are a UK-based manufacturer of front-facing body cameras used by UK police forces.

The news comes as non-essential shops are set to re-open from Monday 12 April next week.

Reveal said three quarters of all shop workers who took part in its study of 2,000 said there had been an increase in incidents of staff dealing with rude, abusive or violent shoppers since the pandemic began.

In addition, the report found that two in three shop workers said that the fear of abuse or assault had stopped them implementing Covid-19-related regulations in 2020.

Two in three of the report’s respondents said that the fear of abuse or assault had resulted in them failing to implement Covid-19-related regulations in the last year.

One third of Reveal’s respondents said that they had been too intimidated to ask shoppers to wear a mask or stick to social distancing guidelines on at least one occasion and limiting the number of people in stores had also proved an issue for one in four shop workers.

Only one in six shop workers said they were prepared to ignore the potential for conflict with customers and implement COVID safety measures regardless of consequences.

Overall, the report said 63 per cent of workers dealing directly with customers said they often felt unsafe because of having to deal with angry, aggressive or unpleasant shoppers.

Reveal’s research also covered the mental health consequences of abuse from shoppers; half of all shop staff surveyed in the report said they have had to take time off work after having to deal with an abusive customer.

The research comes after 69 retail leaders petitioned the Prime Minister in February asking for it to become a statutory offence to assault, threaten or abuse a shop worker in England or Wales, following the introduction of similar legislation in Scotland.

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