Hastings shops ask the public to treat staff with respect this Christmas

Hastings shops ask the public to treat staff with respect this Christmas

A recent national poll found that an alarming 38% of shoppers have witnessed violence against shop staff, and this goes alongside industry data showing 450 recorded incidents every day in the UK – a figure expected to rise significantly in the run-up to Christmas.

John Bownas, manager of Hastings Shopwatch, said: “Hastings stores regularly experience threats and violence to staff. This is simply unacceptable, and I have seen first hand and heard directly from employees and employers just what an emotional toll this takes on people who are only doing their jobs. The majority of people recognise that shopworkers need our friendship and support, especially as they face a much higher workload during the Christmas period. But there sadly remains a small minority who are aggressive and, in the worst cases, physically violent towards people working in shops.”

The #ShopKind campaign has been set up to urge kindness to shopworkers and consumers in stores, and it is backed by major retailers, the Home Office, and the Crimestoppers charity.

#ShopKind urges the public to respect shopworkers’ essential role serving the public, and emphasises that staff should be treated with respect, kindness and gratitude.

Gareth Lewis, Loss Prevention & Security Manager at Southern Co-op, said: “Christmas is not always a happy time of year for everyone and the pressure can become overwhelming. Our store colleagues often bear the brunt of this as it quickly turns into rage and an unacceptable verbal attack.

“Whilst there have been some improvements in crime levels, sadly, verbal abuse has increased across our 200 stores by 26% over the last 12 months compared to the previous year. So, while we continue to invest in and take action to protect our colleagues, we would urge everyone to think and shop kind this Christmas.”

Kit Malthouse MP, Minister for Policing, said: “The festive season should be a time of respect and goodwill, particularly for the retail staff whose hard work allows us all to enjoy a merry Christmas.

“It is completely unacceptable for anyone to threaten or assault shop workers, and this Government won’t stand for it – we are taking action including by backing the #ShopKind campaign, which provide better support to retail workers and encourage customers to treat them with dignity.

“I fully support the #Shopkind campaign, which reminds customers to shop with kindness. I would encourage all retailers to continue to show their support for the campaign and use the seasonal #Shopkind assets.”

Mark Hallas, Chief Executive at charity Crimestoppers, said: “Our high streets play a pivotal role in our communities across the country and whilst Christmas can have its own stresses, there is absolutely no excuse for violent or abusive behaviour towards workers. 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 shopworkers from harm at this busy but special time of year.”

If you have any information about someone who is abusive or violent towards retail workers, please let Crimestoppers know 100% anonymously on freephone 0800 555 111 or by competing a simple and secure Anonymous Online Form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

Please note: With Crimestoppers, computer IP addresses are never traced and no-one will ever know you contacted them. For telephone calls, there is no caller line display, no 1471 facility and calls have never been traced.