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British Retail Consortium: retail staff are the 'forgotten victims' of the riots


Employees in the retail sector are the "forgotten victims" of this month's riots, according to The British Retail Consortium (BRC).

The BRC found retailers lost over 7,500 hours of trading and more than 11,000 members of their staff were affected by the violence.

The BRC surveyed its members responsible for a total of 27% of UK retail sales, meaning the damage to the sector as a whole will be "considerably higher". The research, carried out by the BRC, is being submitted to the relevant police forces to contribute to their impact assessments, which will be used in the trials of alleged offenders. It also gathered anecdotal evidence of the impact on retail staff.

The BRC says this evidence is a reminder that attacks on retailers are not victimless. It shows thousands of staff were subjected to verbal and even physical assault and now feel vulnerable at work. BRC director of business, Tom Ironside, said: "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 three million people who work in the retail sector that their safety is taken seriously. It's sad to hear of retail staff reconsidering their career choice because they feel vulnerable at work. "The police have done a great job of finding those responsible for the rioting and have been a reassuring presence on our streets. As damaged buildings are repaired and streets return to normal, shop owners and their staff also need their confidence rebuilt. A strong message must go out that the retail sector, and those who work in it, will be protected."