Violence is often present in
Helsinki (22.02.2013 - Heikki Jokinen) The
threat of violence is often present for those working in small shops and
kiosks. In 2012 a total of 312 robberies were reported to the police, and
the year before 332.
Shoplifting is not classed
as a robbery, though such cases may also involve the threat of violence. In
2012 a total of 47,360 shoplifting cases were reported to the police,
several thousand less than the year before.
Typical for robberies of
small shops and kiosks is that these incidents are not planned and the take
is often very meagre, a small amount of cash, beer or cigarettes. The
robbers usually wield a knife or hammer, but seldom brandish firearms. By
contrast robberies of jewellery and other luxury item shops are invariably
well planned and executed with firearms.
The Service Union United
PAM is concerned about the situation. In autumn of last year the union
published an action plan called five steps for better security.
First among the measures
stressed good preparedness, and here the onus is on the employer to issue
clear guidelines on how to act in given situations. Step number two advised
about the effective use of technical safety equipment - but which is only
useful if employees are trained to use it.
Step three is for
employees to make a full report of all threatening situations, even those
not leading to violence. This helps to prepare staff for future problems.
The union also wishes to draw special attention to the risks facing those
who work alone. And ultimately the union is demanding that company security
guidelines be constantly updated.
According to the 2012
report of the Centre for Occupational Safety study around 4 per cent of
Finns have met with violence at work during the last 12 months. Security
guards and police are the main targets but the second most ‘violent
profession’ was health care: 18.3 per cent of people working in this field
said they had encountered violence at work, followed by social workers at
12.6 per cent. And in the retail sector 4.5 per cent had faced violence at
However, other forms of
adverse social behaviour, like bullying, sexual harassment and emotional
violence come out clearly on top when it comes to the list of employee
In a European survey (the
5th European Working Conditions Survey by Eurofund) people were asked about
experiencing adverse social behaviour at their work places over the last 12 months. In Finland 21
per cent replied yes to this question. Only Austria recorded a higher figure
at 22 per cent.
The survey is
based on interviews with 44,000 workers in 2010 and it compares the
situation in 34 European countries.
The lowest figures were
reported in Kosovo, at 3 per cent and Turkey, at 5 per cent. In general, the
figures were highest in the Nordic countries and lowest in the Mediterranean
area. Some researchers have suggested that the variance or noticeable
difference in the data may partly reflect cultural understanding as to what
constitutes adverse social behaviour.