Central England Co-op has reiterated its call that the Government ‘urgently needs to do more’ to protect its shop staff following three shocking and brutal incidents.
The retailer, which has over 260 stores spread across 16 counties, released details of the three appalling attacks – one which included a knife and another a wrench – in an effort to continue the conversation and to force change when it comes to offering more support for staff faced with threats and violence.
The first incident, in Markfield, Leicester, saw an innocent colleague verbally abused, physically attacked and then robbed while he lay injured on the floor in an unprovoked attack.
The second, which happened just this week in Barnsley, saw a criminal stab a colleague during a robbery at the store.
The third saw a colleague in Shepshed, Leicestershire, pushed, hit in the head and threatened with a wrench after asking a customer was asked for ID while trying to buy an energy drink and then attempting to leave the store with a drink without paying.
Thankfully, all three are recovering from their injuries and major investigations have been launched by local police forces.
Craig Goldie, loss prevention manager, said: “These three incidents are truly shocking and showcase why the Government urgently needs to do more to better protect our frontline shop workers.
“Stronger laws and punishments are needed for criminals who feel that it acceptable to target shop workers in these types of brutal and appalling ways.
“While we continue to campaign for more to be done, we also want to send a message to would-be criminals. We have a zero tolerance approach to any kind of crime and, if you still want to commit a crime, we will work around the clock with local police forces to bring you to justice in an effort to keep our colleagues and customers safe.”
Central England Co-op has long been campaigning with other retailers lobbying for more to be done to protect those ensuring communities have access to vital food and essentials.
The campaign has received backing from over 200 MPs up and down the country and from across the pollical divide. Support has also come from several police forces and police and crime commissioners.
The retailer is also encouraging customers and members to pledge their support for more Government action by signing an online petition set up by the Co-operative Party.
People can sign it here: https://party.coop/retailviolencebill
New figures from the retailer recently showed assaults jumped by 100%, threats and intimidation by 25% and verbal abuse by 175% since the start of the year, and since the lockdown was introduced, there have been over 100 incidents related directly to people using COVID-19 as a threat.
Some examples of incidents have included multiple threats by customers to cough on colleagues and ‘give them Coronavirus’ and further threats of assaults because people have had to queue to enter stores, social distance or simply because they do not have a specific product.
Over the past three years, Central England Co-op has invested heavily in measures to protect colleagues including fitting stores with external motion detectors and a centrally monitored CCTV system fitted which allows colleagues to call for assistance at the touch of a button.