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Sunday, December 5, 2021

Shoppers in Gedling borough urged to be kind to shop workers at Christmas amid growing levels of abuse and violence

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Shoppers in Gedling borough are being urged to ‘be kind’ in a new campaign amid growing levels of abuse and violence against workers.

The Shop Kind campaign, led by the Home Office, unites the retail sector and encourages positive behaviour in shops as well as acknowledging the important role shop workers play in our communities.

Nottinghamshire Police is supporting the campaign following a series of successes throughout the county, including a crackdown on shoplifting at Victoria Retail Park in Netherfield.

Police say that when officers attend reports of shoplifting, they consider every potential offence, as well as thinking about the steps they can take to better support the staff affected, including patrols and regular engagement with shops.

As well as this, officers also work to refer offenders, where appropriate, for rehabilitation and ensure they get any necessary help for issues such as addiction and mental health.

Operation Reacher officers will also be out conducting proactive shoplifting patrols in throughout the week.

Retail theft incidents often include acts or threats of violence towards officers or staff, and according to government figures, around 400 shop workers are abused everyday across the UK, with reports nationally that some have even been threatened with weapons like knives and hammers.

PC Joanna Baxter, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “Retail crime can often be seen as a victimless crime. However when shop staff suffer threats by these offenders they are left living in fear both inside and outside of the workplace.

Coop-compost-bag
INVOLVED: Co-op stores across the borough are backing the campaign

“We need to understand that and think carefully about what additional steps we can put in place to protect that person.

“That could include arresting someone for more serious offences such as affray, and also considering other civil measures such as community behaviour orders.

“As well as this, incidents can very often go hand in hand with addiction and mental health issues. So, we proactively look to help refer those who require support for this to the relevant organisations and ensure they get the help they need. By tackling any potential underlying factors, our aim is to prevent any further incidents.

“We’re encouraging local businesses and shop staff to get involved in this local campaign and make use of the resources on the Home Office website.”

Pharmacy giant Boots is one of the retailers backing the campaign and have a number of stores across the borough.

Iona Blake, security and incident manager at Boots, said: “At Boots, we have been very active in working with others in the retail industry as well as local authorities and police forces to tackle retail the rise in violence and abuse towards retail workers.

“Locally, we work very closely with Nottinghamshire Police to tackle these issues and bring perpetrators to justice. It is fantastic to see our local police officers getting involved in this campaign alongside retailers to raise awareness of this issue.

“Our team members in stores have a right work in a safe and respectful environment.”

Victoria Crorken, is group head of Risk for The Co-op, who are also getting involved

She said: “As retailers, our priority is to protect our store colleagues. It isn’t part of their job to be physically assaulted or verbally abused while serving their local communities.

“We want our shop workers to be treated with the respect they deserve and have worked closely with Nottinghamshire Police to identify and prosecute those offenders who have caused the most harm.”

ShopKind is a Home Office backed national campaign to tackle violence and abuse against shopworkers. To find resources you can use for your business, and find out more about the campaign, visit the dedicated ShopKind page.

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