Better staff protection is required

Angry customer
Staff should be given training to handle challenging situations, say firms

FIRMS specialising in violence reduction and avoidance training are calling on operators to better equip their staff against aggressive and abusive customers.

A recent survey revealed a 40% increase in verbal and physical abuse towards staff members working in licensed premises in Scotland, which was cited by social enterprise firm Inhouse Event Solutions CIC.

Ryan Gemmell, director of the firm, which provides training for staff that are likely to face challenging situations, said: “Giving frontline staff more confidence when dealing with challenging situations, be it an aggressive customer or first aid emergency, is a crucial step in helping them feel more safe and reducing stress levels in the workplace.”

Mike Greville of conflict management training firm, Salvas, has also called for more widespread training for all customer-facing staff.

The firm provides courses covering a range of conflict-resolution topics, including how to de-escalate potentially violent situations, the legal context of and constraints on members of staff defending themselves if attacked, and identifying a safe space and exit route from a potentially violent situation.

“Without such training, public-facing staff are exposed to potential danger, injury and worse,” warned Greville.

He also backed recent proposed legislation that would afford on-trade staff better protection against abusive customers; a consultation on the Protection of Workers Bill, proposed by Labour MSP Daniel Johnson, is currently underway and runs until April 20.