Violence within the retail sector - A strategic response

Press Release: 24th July 2002

'Violence is up' was the chilling message that met the recent publication of the 2002 British Retail Crime survey.

TFS Limited, a leader in quality work-based personal safety training, has been acutely aware of this emerging issue and has teamed up with a number of high street retailers to tackle this issue.

Using the partnership with Sainsbury's Supermarkets as a relevant case study this review identifies the key tactics that have been adopted throughout the company.

The key thrust of the training intervention had to meet the twin objectives of enhanced personal safety coupled with a series of pragmatic skills that sought to minimise store disruption and enhance the likelihood of excluding persistent offenders thereby reducing stock loss.

In partnership with TFS Limited a one-day course was developed initially to meet the needs of the Field Security team. Such was the immediate success that the programme has now been made available to all managers within the 450 plus stores.

David Hatmil, Training & Communications Manager, explained, 'Historically we had perhaps believed that the previous awareness programme had been sufficient to meet the needs of our front line staff. However, our review clearly exposed the fact that the retail environment was, unfortunately, experiencing a huge increase in violent events against staff. With this in mind a programme that sought to bring confidence in dealing with threatening situations had to be both dynamic and in line with the specific needs of the retail environment. I am happy to say that following extensive consultation and evaluation we have developed a programme that has brought a refreshing solution to a key concern within the business'.

Real life simulations are facilitated by an experienced team to address the key areas of risk, communication and conflict resolution. David Hatmil added "It was vitally important to create a cutting edge programme that captured all the necessary skills whilst underpinning them with current legislation. This latter point has allowed colleagues to implement a robust and effective exclusion policy thereby reducing the likelihood of repeat attacks. Furthermore it was important for the business to develop resolution skills that did not depend on a 'hands-on the offender' mentality as our research clearly showed that this approach was more likely to provoke any given situation" .

Having now developed a strategic resolution to this hitherto vulnerable area of staff protection David has now turned his attention to the equally demanding arena of confronting the potential of internal dishonesty. Together with the team at TFS a two-day programme has been rolled out to the Security department and like the Personal Safety course has now been made available to all managers. David added these words of comfort "Stock loss through external activity such as shoplifters is only part of the problem and we can not afford to sit back and rest on our laurels. Internal issues can also have an impact upon the bottom line". Reassuringly though, like the Personal Safety course David was quick to add, "I believe the key elements of this course are its robustness and simplicity".

Further information can be obtained by visiting the web site at or by telephoning 01344 411138.

Editorial contact only: Ian Kirke, TFS Limited, 01344 411138

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