Central England Co-op calls for an end of violence and aggression towards colleagues as part of a new campaign

Central England Co-op today warns that violence and aggression towards colleagues will ‘not be tolerated’.

The retailer has linked up with all major police forces across its trading estate of 16 counties to explain that any threats towards workers – whether verbal or physical – are completely unacceptable at any of its Food Stores.

The new approach aims to highlight and remind people that the person behind the Central England Co-op uniform could be anyone - from someone’s grandma to someone’s son – and to think of how a verbal or physical attack would impact their family.

This comes after it was revealed, since January this year, Central England Co-op has already recorded 275 incidents of threats/intimidation, 171 cases of verbal abuse and 72 assaults.

Nationally, based on figures released by the British Retail Consortium, 115 people a day are attacked or threatened in retail stores.

Debbie Robinson, Central England Co-op Chief Executive, said: “We want to send a clear message out to anyone who might act in a violent or aggressive way to colleagues in our store – this behaviour will not be tolerated.

“We want people to think long and hard about the person wearing our uniform – they will be someone’s mother, father, brother, sister, son, daughter, grandma or grandfather.

“We want people to ask themselves whether they would like their relatives to be confronted by someone in a violent or aggressive way – the answer is no and therefore why should our colleagues or anyone who works in retail have to even consider facing up to this kind of behaviour.

“This campaign is designed to ensure our colleagues and their families are protected from the physical and emotional impact of violence and aggression and feel safe to come to work.

“We are working closely with local police forces to crackdown on this issue and have also installed a range of new security measures to assist us with that task.

“Everyone at Central England Co-op is proud to live, work and serve in our local communities – now we need people to work with us to make sure that violence and aggression towards our colleagues becomes a thing of the past.”

This crackdown will be supported by an internal poster campaign in store, closer links with local police forces, lobbying government for changes in the law and several new measures in stores including:

  • centrally monitored CCTV system fitted which allows colleagues to call for assistance at the touch of a button
  • increased use of security officers and store detectives in stores
  • stringent cash controls
  • new colleague training on how to deal with situations involving violence or aggression
  • working with offenders to help them beat their addiction and support their integration back into the community

Robert Godson, Loss Prevention Advisor at Central England Co-op, said: “We will be working closely with other retailers, police forces across the 16 counties in which we trade and the Government to tackle the issue of violence and aggression towards colleagues.

“We are doing everything we can to prevent incidents like this from happening, but if something does happen we offer them support and counselling both from within our business and specialists.

“We will continue to constantly assess these problems to ensure that incidents continue to fall and that our stores are safe places to work and shop.”

This new campaign comes on the back of a major drive by the retailer in an effort to reduce levels of crime in stores.

The rollout of a string of new measures last year to reduce incidents saw burglaries drop by six per cent and robberies drop by 30% - bucking a national trend that has seen incidents jump by 137% and 508% respectively.


Notes to editors


About Central England Co-operative


Central England Co-operative is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK. 


It is a modern, forward-looking organisation employing over 8,000 staff, with the Society’s principal areas of activity being food, funeral services, travel shops, and property investment.


Central England Co-operative has over 400 trading outlets across 16 counties including; West Midlands, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.  The Society has an ambitious food store development programme for 2019.


Central England Co-operative is proud of its reputation for ethical business practices and corporate responsibility.  It is a member of Business in the Community, the membership organisation that stands for responsible business, and has also won many business awards for excellence.  The Society supports a number of charities including Dementia UK and invests a percentage of its trading profit into local communities.


Becoming a member of Central England Co-operative offers a whole host of benefits ranging from collecting points every time you spend in store to earn a share of the profits, access to member activities and community initiatives including the Community Dividend Fund, which hands out grants of up to £5,000 to charities and good causes across the Society’s trading estate.

Find out how to become a Central England Co-operative member by calling 0800 0501 601, emailing members@centralengland.coop or visiting https://www.members.coop


For more information visit www.centralengland.coop, follow Central England Co-operative on Twitter: @mycoopfood, and on Facebook: facebook.com/centralenglandcooperative


Rob Smyth and James Brindle at Central England Co-operative on 01543 421390


Email –publicrelations@centralengland.coop