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Post lockdown retail abuse, violence and theft on the increase

Timothy Teixeira Managing Director of Fahrenheit Security Ltd has said “The levels of violence and the increase in shoplifting since non-essential retailers have reopened has been very concerning. Many retailers have cut back on staff numbers as retail footfall has fallen off a cliff and the shoplifters seem more determined than ever after the various lockdowns starved them of illicit gains and are now hiding behind a mask when committing their criminal acts. The West End has been dubbed the 'Wild West' by local retailers for the sheer volume of thefts and lawless acts that have been taken place over recent months. Fahrenheit Security's operatives have been in full action and provided a great return on investment for our high street, premium and luxury retail client's.

One hundred of the UK's biggest retailers such as Tesco, Sainsbury's, and Primark executives have written to Boris Johnson in an attempt to gain support for stricter policing legislation to help curb and stop the "shocking violence and abuse" directed at shop staff.

Businesses have reported up to a 76% increase in abuse and a 10% increase in violent attacks during the pandemic. Half of violent attacks involved a weapon, and many staff have been coughed on or spat at.

The most recent crime survey of retailers revealed a 7% year-on-year increase in violence and abuse in 2019 to 455 cases each day. Also in a poll of 2,700 UK retail workers by union Usdaw, nearly nine in 10 (88 per cent) said they experienced verbal abuse during 2020, compared to one in seven (70 per cent) in 2019, with customers unhappy about Covid restrictions cited as the main cause of incidents.

Similarly, three in five (60 per cent) shop workers reported being threatened by a customer last year, compared to two in five (40 per cent) in 2010. One in 10 (9 per cent) also said they were assaulted in 2020, compared to 5 per cent in 2019.

Retailers in central London are increasing turning to SIA Licensed Security Guards to protect their staff, products and customers wellbeing. Fahrenheit Security has been called upon by fashion retailers, jewellery boutiques and art gallery's to provide reassurance at the front of house. Our security guards ensure nobody will go to work fearing for their safety and step in should staff be made to feel uncomfortable in any way whilst at work.

If you require any security guarding for protection of people and assets please give us a call on 02074095291 or email us on

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A picture of one of Fahrenheit Security's quick response street security team.

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