New South Wales retailers are expecting high rates of aggressive and abusive behaviour towards staff to worsen as the states new freedoms rely on Covid mandates to be enforced in retail stores.

National Retail Association (NRA) CEO Dominique Lamb said the safety and wellbeing of staff is under threat as New South Wales moves out of lockdown.

The latest NRA data collected from Auror shows that threatening behaviour towards staff in New South Wales accounts for close to one in five shoppers (18.9 per cent) for the period between March and September this year.

On the back of the survey, New South Wales retailers have appealed to the State Government to provide greater support and safety for retail staff operating on the front line of Covid mandates.

“It is unfair to rely solely on retail workers to ensure shoppers comply with vaccination passports, mask-wearing and QR code check-ins,” Ms Lamb said.  “Our industry is the largest employer of youth in the country, and it is young people who are typically at the receiving end of abuse.

“A visible police presence patrolling larger shopping centres at regular intervals will go a long way to diffusing any instances of violence encountered by our staff.’’

Ms Lamb said that although residents of Australia’s largest state had experienced a challenging year, customer abuse and violence should not be tolerated in any form.

“Everyone has the right to a safe work environment,” Ms Lamb said.

The NRA’s data from the New South Wales survey shows that:

  • An ORC syndicate was busted in NSW. A ring of five shoplifters and their receiver were charged by a retailer. The file led to police raiding a house where $100,000 of formula, dental and vitamins were seized. Over 40 offences in Auror were linked to this group inthe retailers stores all over Sydney.
  • Total reported events with threatening behaviour have increased by 53 per cent compared to the previous year.
  • 9 per cent of people displaying threatenting behaviour towards retail staff in NSW.