Retailers are taking steps to protect their store, their staff and themselves as police forces fail to control theft and violent crimes committed in stores.

The annual British Retail Crime Survey revealed that 13 shop staff are injured every day due to violent crime, double the number compared to last year. Customer theft also grew by 15% to more than half a billion pounds.

With police performance described as poor by nearly half of all retailers surveyed, many shop owners are responding with security investment and more drastic methods. Spending on anti-crime measures more than doubled according to the research, but British Retail Consortium CEO Helen Dickinson said, “That level of spending may not be viable in the longer-term.”

Unable to rely on police support and unable to fund the security measures  larger retailers depend on such as security guards, shopkeepers told Retail Express they feel forced to protect themselves.

Hirenkumar Patel, owner of Harry's Lavender News in Ipswitch was forced to keep the shop door looked and individually vet customers after police were “unable to attend” daily high value shoplifting incidents.  “I have to keep my family safe and cannot afford to lose more stock,” he said.

In other incidents, retailers feel forced to risk their safety. When three thieves armed with a crowbar tried to rob Rajinder and Beant Saghere’s Aldermoor Convenience Store in Southampton last week, the shopkeepers responded with a baseball bat and a paintball gun. “Shop owners are not safe enough in Southampton. It’s time for shopkeepers to protect themselves,” said Rajinder.