The risk to retail staff from knife attacks is on the rise, with the Office for National Statistics reporting a significant increase in offences involving bladed weapons.

The ONS reported a 6% increase to 40,829 offences, the highest annual number since 2011.  

A third of offences were in London, followed by the UK’s other major metropolitan areas.

While the statistics relate to crime overall, the recent ACS 2019 crime report mirrors the findings, with a knife used in 68% of violent shop incidents involving a weapon, up from 64% in 2018 and 32% in 2017.

Manisha Kumar, owner of Kumar News in Manchester, advised retailers to be mindful of who is in their shop. 

“We have had customers show us they have a knife on them,” she said. “This can be really scary, because you don’t know what they are going to do. It’s important to be mindful of who is in your shop.”

Earlier this month, Labour MP Gareth Snell raised his concerns for the safety of shopworkers who enforce a restriction on age-related sales, including knives. 

Speaking at the parliamentary debate on the prevention of retail crime, he said: “We are asking civilians to enforce the laws we create.

“At the same time, we are saying that if those civilians receive abuse or are the victim of aggressive behaviour as a result of enforcing those laws, they may not get the follow-through and the justice they desire. That needs to change.”

In an effort to address retail crime, Home Office minister Victoria Atkins launched a consultation on 5 April, and asked retailers to come forward and share their experiences. 

Labour MP David Hanson told RN that he will be monitoring Atkins’ promise to provide a response by autumn 2019, ahead of its closure on 28 June.

Interested in having your say in the consultation? Call RN on 020 7689 3357