Central England Co-op reinforces zero tolerance crime campaign after shoplifter threatens staff in Rugeley store
Central England Co-op has reaffirmed its message that violence and aggression towards staff will ‘not be tolerated’ after colleagues were threatened by a shoplifter during an incident in Rugeley.
The unacceptable incident took place on Wednesday, 8 December and saw a male shoplifter shout abuse at colleagues and smash wine bottles on the floor at the store in Springfield Road.
The colleagues were thankfully physically unharmed but understandably were extremely shaken by the ordeal and are being supported. The retailer is helping police with their investigation.
Craig Goldie, Loss Prevention Manager, said: “Everyone at Central England Co-op has been shocked and appalled at this terrifying incident in Rugeley where our colleagues were threatened with weapons, while they were just trying to do their job serving their local community.
“We strongly condemn any form of abuse or violence towards our colleagues and are offering our full support to the entire team at the Springfield Road store. We are working closely with the local police force to bring the criminal responsible to justice.
“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.”
Recent figures from Central England Co-op showed that nearly 12,000 incidents have been reported so far this year including 81 assaults, 959 cases of verbal abuse and threats, 307 anti-social behaviour reports and 160 direct incidents related to Covid-19.
This means, compared to last year, the total number of incidents have jumped by 26.1%, with rises in verbal abuse, threats and anti-social behaviour.
Recently, Central England Co-op has rolled out a range of different measures including security assistance buttons and using tracking devices in more products to deter would-be thieves.
It has just announced the roll out of colleague body cameras to over 50 stores following a successful trial designed to keep staff safe and help drive down crime in stores.
This comes after the retailer welcomed the news that an amendment has now been tabled by the Home Office to make an attack on shopworkers an aggravated offence after years of campaigning.
It, along with partners across the co-operative movement, and fellow retailers and trade unions, have been campaigning for better protection for colleagues with incidents of violence against shopworkers rising sharply in recent years.
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 over 7,800 colleagues serve customers across 400 plus 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.
It actively campaigns for the Government to increase sentencing for violent attacks on retail workers and works with FareShare Midlands and hundreds of food banks, generating 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, while it is also fully committed to addressing the impact of climate change and is on track to be Carbon Neutral by 2030.
It invests a percentage of its trading profit into local communities through its Community Dividend Fund scheme which has seen over £175,000 shared out between 116 good causes over the past 12 months.
Central England Co-op was named Leading Co-op of the Year by Co-operatives UK in 2021.
Press office contacts: Rob Smyth and James Brindle
Phone - 01543 421390