Central England Co-op launches autumn/winter crime crackdown by telling would-be criminals ‘it is not worth the risk’ to target its staff and stores

Posted by rob smyth | Published: 14/10/2020

Criminals have been told ‘it is not worth the risk’ targeting Central England Co-op stores this autumn and winter following a roll-out of new measures.

The retailer, which has over 260 stores across 16 counties, issued the warning as part of an ongoing campaign to keep colleagues and customers safe as the nights draw in and Covid-19 restrictions continue .

The coming months will see Central England Co-op increasing a range of different measures in stores including; expanding a service it uses that allows colleagues, at the touch of the button, to call for assistance, and putting tracking devices in more products to deter would-be thieves.

This will sit alongside a recently launched trial of body worn cameras which, if successful, could be rolled out across all stores.

Craig Goldie, Loss Prevention Manager, said: “We want to send a clear message out to anyone who might be thinking of committing a crime at one of our stores this autumn and winter - this behaviour will not be tolerated and targeting our stores is not worth the risk.

“This campaign is designed to deter would-be criminals and ensure our colleagues and their families are protected from the physical and emotional impact of violence and aggression and feel safe to come to work.

“We are working closely with local police forces to crackdown on these issues and have also installed a range of new security measures to assist us in this ongoing campaign.

“Everyone at Central England Co-op is proud to live, work and serve in our local communities – now we need people to work with us to make sure that all crime – from theft and robberies to violence and aggression towards our colleagues - becomes a thing of the past.”

This crackdown will be supported by an internal poster campaign in store, closer links with local police forces, lobbying government for changes in the law and several measures already in place in stores including:

  • centrally monitored CCTV system fitted which allows colleagues to call for assistance at the touch of a button
  • increased use of security officers and store detectives in stores
  • stringent cash controls
  • new colleague training on how to deal with situations involving violence or aggression
  • working with offenders to help them beat their addiction and support their integration back into the community

The campaign comes on the back of new figures which have revealed that, in Central England Co-op stores this year, verbal abuse has risen by 205%, threats and intimidation by 122% and assaults by 47%.

It can also be revealed that the retailer has recorded a total of 232 crimes related directly to covid-19.

Recently, Central England Chief Executive Debbie Robinson joined forces with 22 other retail bosses to write to Prime Minister Boris Johnson asking for greater protection to shopworkers who face violence and aggression from customers.

Central England Co-op has been running a long-term campaign showcasing its zero tolerance’ approach to violence and aggression towards colleagues.

The campaign has also received backing from over 200 other MPs up and down the country and from across the political divide. Support has also come from several police forces and police and crime commissioners.


Notes to editors


Picture caption:


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 and property investment.


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


Our 7,550 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 400 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