Shopworkers have been urged to be on their guard in December as retail crime traditionally soars during the Christmas period.
Researchers estimate that almost 100,000 shoplifters will be arrested between mid-November and the end of December. Shoplifters account for two-thirds of all attacks on shopworkers.
Through its Freedom From Fear campaign, retail union Usdaw is urging its members not to put their own safety, and that of their law abiding customers, in danger by taking unnecessary risks when dealing with criminals, many of whom will be high on drugs and/or alcohol.
Usdaw general secretary John Hannett said: “We always advise our members to avoid getting involved and to leave the crimefighting to the police and security staff.
“But as thieves become more desperate to escape capture, they can often attack innocent shopworkers. Whatever our members do I urge them not to ‘have a go’.”
Usdaw figures show that 16,200 shopworkers who were physically attacked in the UK in 2002, while 48,600 were threatened with attack and 70,000 verbally abused.