Co-op launches new campaign to protect workers against crime

Co-op crime report Dr Emmeline Taylor Jo Whitfield
The appeal is part of the "Safer Colleagues, Safer Communities" campaign
// The Co-op launches Safer Colleagues, Safer Communities campaign to call on government to protect store employees against crime
// The grocer teamed up with criminologist Dr Emmeline Taylor
// Taylor’s report also found that the rising number of crimes against shop workers has hit a five-year high

The Co-op has joined forces with a criminologist to urge the government to protect store employees as violence in the retail sector reaches “epidemic proportions”.

The appeal is part of the grocer’s Safer Colleagues, Safer Communities campaign.

Criminologist Dr Emmeline Taylor from City, University of London, has for the first time evidenced the impact and motivations of violence in the retail sector, which she described as having “reached ‘epidemic’ proportions”.

The campaign is funded by the Co-op, and calls on the government to send a clear message that violence and verbal aggression will not be tolerated in stores.

Taylor’s report also found that the rising number of crimes against shop workers has hit a five-year high, and highlighted the suffering and post-traumatic stress disorder that workers had to deal with.

“The strain of constant abuse and fear of physical violence is causing some shop workers to change their shift pattern, their place of work or, in the worst cases, terminate their employment entirely,” the report said.

Co-op chief executive Jo Whitfield said: “Nothing is more important to me than protecting our colleagues at the Co-op.

“I’ve worked in retail businesses for more than 20 years and I’ve never seen such high levels of violence and abuse.

“And it’s having lasting effects on the lives of workers, both mentally and physically. It is not part of the job to be verbally abused, threatened or attacked.

“We’re determined to make sure it isn’t and in addition to industry-led initiatives, the sector needs government action to stem the tide of abuse against shop workers and address the underlying causes that are known to result in violence.”

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  1. Despite this stores that are constantly being targeted get little or no support. Maybe a guard for a week if you’re very lucky.

    Most stores are a time bomb waiting to go off and morale is very low in most of them
    Hours constantly stripped out of store meaning sometimes as little as 2 or 3 colleagues in stores.

    CCTV that is ancient doesn’t help as police cannot identify in most cases.

    It’s a start but Co-op need to do much much more to help!

  2. I work in a coop in Northern Ireland and we have a guard 5 days a week. Superiors can only do so much sometimes its down to the community that we live in thats where the police and courts fail us all. I feel that coop have great policies for us to protect ourselves and its constantly being reinforced at store level by management.

  3. Coop have been very slow about looking into this problem.
    It is not a new thing. Staff have suffered for many years and the business would do little or nothing to protect them.
    Many people have left the business or changed their work area because of anti social, threatening, abusive and sometimes violent behaviour.
    Shame on you Coop.

  4. I agree we need more than 2 or 3 colleagues in the store at all times especially the peak trading times as shop lifters and those who come to do harm are getting savvy. They know when are the busiest times and staff are busy serving customers. In the store I work in at peak times all staff members are usually serving customers at the tills, which makes watching customers, people on the shop floor more difficult. Usually that is when the shop lifters strike. The last 2 incidents one of the shop lifters you’d expect to be the kind of person to do it, but also there was a well looking couple who came in and shop lifted several steaks and meat joints as well as alcohol. It seems to be a case of, it doesn’t matter who they are they are getting away with this behavior, so other people think that they can get away with doing the same. We literally have to tag everything in the store to try and prevent this from happening.

  5. Yes totally agree with your comments , stores cannot be ran properly with little or no staff on shift, when a manager has to work 15 cages alone as no hours for any staffing .
    Also one to one working should not be allowed to happen at all.
    CCTV in-store not of good quality at all.
    It is a disgrace that stores do not have proper support that they need.

  6. I used to work for M&S and as a cost cutting exercise removed a lot of the security from all but the large stores. Our colleagues were pushed, threatened with needles, spat at, verbally threatened and abused. Nothing was done to prevent this, to a point that the local police even questioned our companies policy. On one occasion they even advised us to close early because it had been so bad. Companies need to be made accountable. I used to work in pubs but encountered more threats on violence in retail..

  7. Lots of long standing staff true co-op people with lots of knowledge are leaving ,because of the amount of extra work they have piled on them due to all the hour cuts in store .
    You cannot keep cutting hours and expect staff to do double the work for a
    Miserly hourly rate .
    It is affecting their health and sanity.
    Less staff means less jobs get done .
    More thefts , more losses to the store.
    Where is all the money going from all these hour cuts ?? Every week .
    Co-op used to care .

  8. Having worked for Co op as a Customer Team Member for two years, I’ve seen a lot happen in my store. We get raids nearly every day by groups of young people, violent and abusive adults who try to steal alcohol and whatever they can get their hands on, and it took 4 assaults in one week at my store for Co Op to even consider getting us a temporary security guard.

    As someone who works for the company, and has received death threats on the daily just for working at my store, I can say that any efforts by executives in this matter are minimal.


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