Armed Robberies In Betting Shops

Betting Shop Staff

Recently, a man was arrested following a series of armed robberies in Paddy Power shops in the Birmingham area. It was reported that he was in possession of a gun, a knife and ammunition.

As members will be painfully aware, robberies in betting shops are not uncommon: this means that the risk to staff of both physical and mental harm is considerably higher than in most other industries.

After increasing opening hours to 10pm, Betfred has recently announced that it plans to implement new working hours which, for many staff, will result in lone working for a proportion of the day. Whilst we acknowledge that some staff are content to work alone, the overwhelming majority have expressed significant concern about working alone in shops, late at night, handling large amounts of cash. As one member said:

“I really do not want to lone work at night. I’m scared because betting shops can be a very volatile place to work. Do the people that implement these working hours have their family working on their own? I very much doubt it.”

If fact, we have challenged each of Betfred’s Executive Directors to sign up to work alone in shops that we select for four evenings each over the next two months. So far, they have not responded to our challenge!

The safety and welfare of staff should be at the forefront of companies’ minds. Indeed, all of the betting shops have a legal duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to “ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all [their] employees”.

This includes:

“(a) the provision and maintenance of plant and systems of work that are, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health; …

(c) the provision of such information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of [their] employees; …

(e) the provision and maintenance of a working environment for [their] employees that is, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe, without risks to health, and adequate as regards facilities and arrangements for their welfare at work.”

The question is, are the chains doing all they should to meet these requirements? Are bandit screens adequate to protect staff? Are other basic shop security features functioning as they should? Is it really appropriate and/or necessary to operate blanket, mandatory lone working arrangements? Have chains carried out suitable and sufficient risk assessments concerning the Health & Safety risks to which employees are exposed while at work?

These are matters that we are going to tackle to ensure members are not exposed to unnecessary risk.

If you have concerns about your working environment, you can contact us completely confidentially at

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