Premises design/layout

The way your premises are designed or laid out can have a big impact on the prevention and management of the risk of work-related violence. You can get detailed advice about how to design premises to reduce the risk of crime from your local authority architectural liaison officer or police crime prevention officer. In the meantime, the following tips should get you started. Remember, you don't need to be doing a major refit to implement some of these measures.

Remember to consider the needs of staff or customers with disabilities when planning changes to the work environment.  

There are several schemes (for example 'Secured by Design') that you can get involved in - why not have a look at the relevant website for more details?

Retail premises


Location of cash tills

High and wide counters

Counters should be high enough to prevent customers climbing or leaning over, wide enough to prevent customers reaching staff, and without gaps at the ends of counters to prevent people walking into staff areas. Designing counters with raised flooring can separate the public from your staff and give better sight lines.

Location of high-value or age-restricted goods

High-value goods should be located in a clearly visible part of the store, away from the exit, on higher shelves, or near/behind the tills where staff can see them.

How customers move around your store

Tell customers where they need to go for checkouts etc and prevent them from entering 'staff only' areas. Depending on the size and nature of your store, routing could include signage, clear queuing lanes, one queue with a call forward system to prevent queue jumping, or a reception point for quick queries.

Outside the building

Licensed premises

The bar area

Sufficient bars and good bar access help to avoid extensive crowding and queuing. Try to use layouts promoting small group formations rather than large areas which can encourage solitary drinkers or large groups. However, you will need sufficient staff to cover your bars. Optimal designs of bar areas may include open plan areas, divided in such a way staff can monitor all customers. Where blind spots are inevitable, carefully positioned CCTV or mirrors can be useful.

High and wide bar counters

Use appropriate furniture, and provide sufficient seating areas

Heavier furniture can't be easily lifted and used as weapons. Try to secure outdoor furniture or provide secure storage for it. Avoid furniture where objects can be hidden, and decide if you need storage for customers' possessions, eg 'Chelsea clips'.

Toilet areas

Updated 2022-12-13