SHOP workers are experiencing ‘long-lasting anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder’ due to a rise of violence in stores.
More than 42,000 assaults or threats were recorded last year, and government action is ‘urgently needed’ to protect staff, says a report by City, University of London.
And the study said the ‘strain of constant abuse and fear of physical violence’ was causing many workers to quit their jobs.
One shopkeeper told researchers he had been ‘punched in the face, threatened with a needle by a guy on drugs and spat at’. And one store was targeted so frequently its owner installed floor-to-ceiling bulletproof glass to protect workers and stock.
Instead of picking groceries themselves, customers ask staff to get goods for them at The Felmores Offy, in Basildon, Essex.
Manager Karen Waldon said: ‘There were smash and grabs. We put this up to stop it. Obviously, it makes it safer.’
Since fitting the screens more than a decade ago, the store has been crime-free.