A convenience store in Manchester was robbed twice in eleven years. The store was purchased by the Co-op. When the Co-op took over, they removed a security screen in the store. There were then ten armed robberies in five years, during which three female shop workers suffered post-traumatic stress disorder as the robberies were so frightening. Three shop workers sued the Co-op.

After some of the robberies, the Co-op carried out a risk assessment, following which the Co-op installed internal and external CCTV, panic alarms, video surveillance and fob-operated door locks. In addition, the Co-op minimised the amount of cash in the tills, used smoke notes and provided part-time security for a limited period after one of the robberies. The store was running a loss of £60,000 per annum and full-time security would cost £30,000 per annum. Despite the Co-op’s initiatives, more robberies took place.

What were the shop workers’ arguments?

That the Co-op didn’t reinstate the security screens, nor did they provide full-time security.

Did the court order the Co-op to pay compensation to the injured staff?

No. The court found that the Co-op had kept their staff reasonably safe; that there had to be a balance between keeping staff 100% safe and the cost of the security; and even if there were security screens, the shop workers may still have suffered psychiatric injury, found the court. So the shop workers didn’t receive any compensation.

Truth Legal’s comments

Although our hearts go out to the traumatised shop workers, the Co-op had installed quite a few measures to prevent robberies. The case was in the balance hence why it went to the Court of appeal. Thankfully, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority is likely to have paid some compensation, but not as much as the shop workers would have got had they successfully sued the Co-op.

See the full case report here.

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