This year the BRC led work in Parliament which, for the first time, saw the Home Office state that violence and abuse against our front-line colleagues is a serious issue in its own right, and consult on possible reforms.
Everyone in the industry knows this is one of our most pressing problems. The figures are stark: around 115 colleagues each and every day are attacked, just for doing their job, despite record spending of nearly £1 billion on crime prevention.
For us all, it is not a business issue. It is a human tragedy. The victims are our colleagues, and their loved ones and families. That is why we at the BRC have worked so hard to build a community of interest across the industry and into policing and the Home Office.
Through our lobbying in Parliament on the Offensive Weapons Bill, the Home Office agreed to seek evidence on the problem and possible solutions.
For the first time, we co-ordinated a single response letter to the Home Office signed by 50 of our member CEOs, Chairs and Managing Directors, as well as leaders from USDAW, the ACS and the Charity Retailers Association. The impact of this show of unity should never be under-estimated.
The election has, however, got in the way of the Home Office publicly setting out how it wants to proceed on this issue, and we expect news in the new year.
We continue to prioritise this area, as the 40 senior leaders who attended a recent round table with Ian Dyson, Commissioner of the City of London Police, can attest.
But we can only succeed you’re your engagement and support: by providing data for our Retail Crime Survey, by working with us to lobby candidates for Police and Crime Commissioner (key regional policing decision-makers) roles in the May election and by helping us develop products, such as de-escalation training, that will work ‘on the ground’.
This is not an issue limited to any sector, type or size of retailer, with levels of assaults on delivery colleagues seemingly also growing, and is something we all need to come together on. Through the Operations Community, we pledge to continuing leading the debate and shaping the solutions in 2020. If you can contribute, or have any questions or thoughts, please contact James Martin.