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ShopCare, Health & Safety, Health Safety Wellbeing, Safety leadership, Industry Group, Sector Group, Workplace safety, Healthy workplace, Retail, Retailers, Supply Chain, Manufacturing, Transport, Transportation, ACC

Violent and Aggressive Behaviour (VAB) is a workplace health and safety risk that can cause significant harm to our workers, their whānau, the wider community and Aotearoa more broadly.


The consequences of VAB incidents can include physical and psychological injury, low team and individual morale, poor mental health, and increased absenteeism.

Recent crime statistics from NZ Police show that between 2018 and 2023 there was an overall decrease in key crime categories, however:


  • Crime within a retail setting or a service station increased by 115%

  • Robbery increased by 13% compared with the same period the previous year

  • A potential shift to violent offending is occurring


The NZ Retail Crime Report (2023) conducted by Retail NZ also found that:

  • The annual cost of all retail crime is $2.6 billion (or more than 1% of New Zealand’s GDP)

  • Of participating retailers, 92% indicated they were affected by crime in the past 12 months; this represents a 11% increase from seven years ago


Our work is to provide a better understanding of the impact that VAB is having within the retail sector and the significant consequences of these type of incidents.

Introducing Matthew Tierney from the National Retail Investigation Support Unit
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Kia ora, I'm Matthew Tierney, manager of the New Zealand Police National Retail Investigation Support Unit. This unit was established in November 2021 and became operational in June 2022 to target the most prolific, repeat retail theft offenders. We collate all the evidence from reported retail crimes across the country, focusing on patterns of high harm repeat offending. We then complete the entire file to prepare for prosecution and send it to local police to locate and arrest the offender. This supports our frontline police to hold retail crime offenders to account. To date we have arrested 350 offenders and laid 2000 charges. The National Retail Investigation Support Unit also works closely with retailers and crime prevention organisations at a national level. We want to help them understand the ever-changing retail crime environment and give them information and advice on security measures to support the safety of their staff and communities. Our aim is to work together to minimise opportunities for retail offending. I strongly encourage retailers to report all crime at their premises to police. This enables Police to better understand the retail crime environment and make staffing deployment decisions to combat it. Whilst Police may not be able to attend your store at the time of the offence, we still do our best to hold the offenders to account. We will continue to work on retail crime from multiple angles; prevention, response, and with partners and community.

ShopCare online VAB training modules hosted by RedSeed


Workplace violence is any incident, in which a person is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances relating to their work, which can include verbal abuse, threats of harm, or physical attacks. In a retail setting, this can be an angry customer through to an armed robbery. The effective management of VAB requires a multi-level approach and ShopCare will build capability across the key areas of work design, improved processes and procedures, worker participation, psychosocial risk and workplace culture.  Evidence suggests significant benefits from collaboration through knowledge-sharing, joint crime prevention strategies and worker and manager training. ShopCare has partnered with RedSeed to develop four VAB training modules on: Situational awareness Managing an angry customer Staying safe Supporting your team Our VAB online modules are suitable for any front-line workers and their managers in a retail, or similar customer-facing setting.

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Learn how Shopcare is serving the retail sector in the January/February issue of Safeguard magazine.


Read and share our newsletter introducing the readily accessible VAB training.

NZ Police

The NZ Police Retail Crime Prevention Hub has a number of useful retail crime prevention resources, including educational videos, posters and advice.

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Retail NZ

Retail NZ has published the NZ Retail Crime Report (2023), presenting the results of the current survey compared with the six years prior.

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Auror is a retail crime intelligence and loss prevention platform designed to empower the retail sector through incident reporting and data management.

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Hosted by ShopCare, Scott Taylor will share insights on the physiological changes that people with bad intent show in the retail space, if their intent is theft, violence or anti-social activities. So you can be better prepared to identify and manage a potential situation.


In this ShopCare hosted webinar, Paul Walsh (Rusec Ltd.) and Craig Webb (QRisk NZ) will take you through strategies for personal safety and security in crowded places. 


This ShopCare hosted webinar asks the question 'Is security part of your safety plan?' with expert advice provided by Jemima Briggs (First Security).

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