To kick start a series of planned national action days, retailers, local policing and private security organisations all came together at the campaign’s launch weekend held at Birmingham’s Bullring shopping centre on the 11th February.
The action days form part of the National Days of Action, in Association with #ShopKind initiative, where shoppers were urging to be mindful of shop workers' essential role in serving the public.
Over the course of the launch weekend, shoppers found out more about the campaign where they met with organisers, who include Crimestoppers, the National Business Crime Centre, National Association of Business Crime Partnerships, National Days of Action Steering Group and other local stakeholders.
The ‘days of action’ are intended to be high visibility events, showing a united front, emphasising that workers should be treated with respect, kindness and gratitude.
To help assist with this notion, security staff and local policing utilised the SentrySIS ConnectLIVE messaging app to help share crime intelligence with people on the ground as they monitored and tracked ‘would-be’ prolific offenders over the course of the weekend.
Minister for Crime, Policing and Probation Kit Malthouse said: “What would possess anyone to threaten or assault shop workers is beyond me. It’s truly awful and we should not stand for it. I want this national day of action to send a clear message to customers that they must treat shopworkers properly. We have more police on our streets, and they should work with businesses to keep our communities safe and our high streets thriving."
#ShopKind is supported by major high street retailers as well as the Association of Convenience Stores and the shopworkers’ union Usdaw. The campaign is now highly visible across high streets and on social media.
Chris Nriapia from SentrySIS said “Shopworkers are just normal people like you and me but are far too often subjected to violence in the workplace from the public. It’s wrong and just should not happen, full-stop. We are more than happy to support the #shopkind campaign through providing our ConnectLIVE communications technology to help the police and security staff on the ground share vital crime intelligence when they need it the most.”
The Association of Convenience Stores’ 2021 Crime Report shows that over the previous year there were over 1.2 million incidents of verbal abuse and around 40,000 incidents of violence against people working in convenience stores. Of these, more than a quarter involved a weapon, such as a knife, hammer, axe, or syringe.
Mark Hallas, chief executive at charity Crimestoppers, said: “Our high streets play a pivotal role in our communities across the country. Please help us stamp out abuse and if you know who is responsible but want to stay anonymous, tell our charity what you know. Call freephone 0800 555 111 or visit Crimestoppers-uk.org. Together, we can help protect our shops and shop workers from harm at this busy but special time of year.”
Retailers are also encouraged to review their security provisions for the protection of staff.
Darren Conway, chairman of the National Days of Action Steering Group and Group Strategy Director at Lodge Service said: “There are a range of effective countermeasures available to retail, leisure and other locations to deter threats to staff, whether from criminal gangs or in random, isolated incidents. Only by working collaboratively and as a community will we be able to fully support our teams on the front line. We are urging all businesses and the public to get behind the days of action and #ShopKind
The National Business Crime Centre, who is a key strategic partner in this initiative, have recently produced a useful guide to help reduce violence against staff that is available to download.
Supt Patrick Holdaway who is the NBCC’s lead said: “Violence and abuse against shop workers is never acceptable. The National Business Crime Centre has been working with key stakeholders in police, retail, business crime reduction partnerships and security providers to deliver a series of ‘days of action’ to support the National #ShopKind campaign to protect shop workers, and deter, disrupt and detain persistent and prolific offenders.”
There are a series of further National Action Days planned throughout 2022 across the UK where SentrySIS will be providing its ConnectLIVE messaging app that will be used by organisers.
photos: West Midlands Police