Retailers join Home Office to launch campaign against staff abuse

Tesco B&Q staff abuse ACS BRC Home Office
The ACS found that as many as 400 retail shop staff are abused by customers every day in the UK
// Retailers join trade bodies and the Home Office to launch new campaign against staff abuse
// The #ShopKind campaign was launched to help reduce the rise in violence and abuse against shop staff

Tesco and B&Q are among retailers that have teamed up with various trade bodies, the Home Office, charity Crimestoppers and unions, in an effort to launch a new campaign to reduce staff abuse.

The #ShopKind campaign has been launched today to help reduce the rise in violence and abuse against shop staff that has been witnessed amid the pandemic, particularly since non-essential retailers reopened in England and Wales on April 12.

The campaign has been backed by the Home Office and launched with the support of the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) and shopworkers’ union Usdaw, and will be made visible through high street signage and social media advertising.

READ MORE: Shopworkers face abuse from non-mask wearers as crime rises 140%, Co-op says

The ACS found that as many as 400 retail shop staff are abused by customers every day in the UK.

The report also lodged 1.2 million incidences of verbal abuse and around 40,000 incidents of violence against people working in convenience stores alone since the start of the pandemic.

Two-third of retailers reported that they had faced “Covid-related threats” with the most common causes of abuse being around enforcing the wearing of face coverings and social distancing in stores.

“Throughout the pandemic, shop staff have been the lifeline for many in our communities, and I am grateful for their vital service,” Home Secretary Priti Patel said.

“Violence and abuse towards shop workers are utterly despicable and unacceptable, everyone has the right to feel safe at work.

“As the daughter of shopkeepers, I fully support ShopKind, a reminder to customers to consider their behaviour towards shop staff, and I would encourage all retailers to fully support it.”

B&Q chief executive Graham Bell said: “Home improvement and gardening has been an enormous source of wellbeing over the past twelve months and our colleagues have done an outstanding job of keeping our stores open.

“They’ve given our customers access to the tools and products they need to not only adapt their homes to the new way of living and keep them warm, safe and secure but also as a way of maintaining good wellbeing in the past year.

“While the vast majority of shopping trips to our stores are trouble-free, others are unfortunately not, which is why we’re supporting the ShopKind campaign. There is no place in retail for abuse and violence and we stand together with the retail community.”

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson added: “#ShopKind is a really important campaign with a clear message for us all.

“Incidents of violence and abuse of people in customer-facing roles have been on the rise since the beginning of the pandemic, with colleagues being spat at, racially abused, and threatened with weapons by an increasing minority of people.

“Retail workers are playing a vital role keeping customers and colleagues in stores safe and ensuring we have access to goods. So now, as non-essential shops reopen, we all need to play our part – be kind and shop kind.”

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