Co-op shares details of three shocking attacks on staff in effort to make Government ‘do more’ to protect shopworkers

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, which has over 260 stores across 16 counties, 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.

 

 

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 with interests in food, funeral, floral, travel and property investment.

 

Co-operatives have always been there for their communities; they were formed to protect them and help them flourish. 

 

Our 7,900 colleagues who serve Members and customers work hard to ensure that co-operative values, principles and spirit flow through everything we do to help support and improve our local communities.

 

Owned by hundreds of thousands of Members, we have over 430 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. 

 

We are proud of our reputation for ethical business practices and corporate responsibility.

 

We invest a percentage of our trading profit into local communities through our Community Dividend Fund scheme, have donated over £1.3 million to our corporate charity partner Dementia UK and also operate a pioneering food redistribution partnership with FareShare Midlands so unsold food goes to those in need.

 

Visit www.centralengland.coop for more information or follow us on Facebook or Twitter using @mycoopfood

 

 

Press office contacts: Rob Smyth and James Brindle

 

Phone - 01543 421390

 

Email - publicrelations@centralengland.coop