Central England Co-op reinforces zero tolerance crime campaign after armed robbery in Dudley

Central England Co-op has reaffirmed its campaign calling for better protection for staff after colleagues were subjected to a terrifying armed robbery involving a knife in Dudley.

The retailer is reinforcing its message that violence and aggression towards workers will ‘not be tolerated’ following the incident at the Overfield Road Food Store which saw a male threaten three colleagues with a knife while demanding cash from the tills.

Thankfully those on duty were not physically harmed during the shocking incident, however they were extremely shaken by the ordeal. The team is working with the local police and supporting its investigation.

Craig Goldie, Loss Prevention Manager, said: “Everyone at Central England Co-op has been shocked and appalled at this unacceptable incident in Dudley.

“Luckily, the colleagues were not injured and we are offering full support to them and the entire team and working closely with the local police force to bring the criminals responsible to justice.

“We strongly condemn any form of abuse or violence towards our teams who are just doing their job.

“These types of incidents reinforce our ongoing campaign calling for better protection for shopworkers and highlights our zero-tolerance policy on all types of crime aimed at our colleagues and customers.

“Once again, we are sending a clear message out to anyone who might consider targeting our colleagues and stores – it is not worth the risk and no crime will be tolerated.”

This comes after the retailer asked people to ‘be kind’ as part of a new campaign encouraging customers to treat shop colleagues with respect and to repeat the Co-op’s long-term message to would-be criminals that ‘it is not worth the risk’ to target them.

New research has shown that, in the last 12 months, incidents of verbal abuse jumped by 167%, anti-social behaviour by 39%, assaults by 35% and threats by 16% compared to 2019.

The retailer also revealed that 312 crimes related directly to Covid-19 have been recorded in stores since the start of the pandemic.

Recently, to help combat this problem, the retailer rolled out a range of different measures including security assistance buttons and using tracking devices in more products to deter would-be thieves.

The retailer has also been working with other major retailers, unions, industry bodies, police and crime commissioners and over 200 MPs to push the Government to crackdown further on those who abuse or attack shopworkers via the introduction of tougher penalties such as an automatic prison term.

 

Notes to editors

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.

Owned by hundreds of thousands of members, its 7,550 colleagues serve customers across over 400 trading sites in 16 counties in the East and West Midlands, Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. 

Its purpose is to inspire communities to create a sustainable Society for all;strong and successful Society that is invested in protecting the environment and the wellbeing of all its colleagues, members, and customers.

To safeguard the dignity and security of colleagues in the workplace, the Society actively campaigns for the Government to increase sentencing for violent attacks on retail workers.

Working with FareShare Midlands and hundreds of food banks, they have generated enough food donations to create over 2.1 million meals for people in need.

The Society embraces inclusivity and equality and is a signed-up member to the Business in the Community (BITC) Race at Work Charter. 

It is also fully committed to addressing the impact of climate change and is on track to be Carbon Neutral by 2030.  Current holders of the Carbon Trust Triple standard for Carbon, Waste and Water, retained for seven years. They are the only supermarket in the UK to achieve the Triple standard.

Press office contacts: Rob Smyth and James Brindle

Phone - 01543 421390

Email - publicrelations@centralengland.coop