Respect for Shop Workers week has been all about raising awareness with the public and our colleagues that violence, threats and abuse against workers is unacceptable.
And we’ve done exactly that! Throughout this week the Food field teams, teams from the Retail Support Centre and many others have visited hundreds of our shops up and down the country. They’ve been having honest conversations with colleagues and customers about crime in Retail and what we’re doing inside and outside of the Co-op to protect our colleagues.
A huge part of USDAW’s Freedom from Fear campaign (of which Respect for Shop Workers week is a part of) is about opening up conversations with members of government about crime in Retail. It’s what we want to do more of in the future but we made a great start this week by welcoming 50 MPs into our shops. We talked to them about how crime affects our colleagues and some of the ways we try to address that.
My favourite picture of the week goes to one of our Area Managers Immy and MP Ed Miliband wearing our Co-op headsets.
Nothing is more important that protecting our colleagues now and in the future
But it’s not just one week for us. Nothing is more important than protecting our colleagues now and in the future.
We’ve launched some brilliant things this year that will help our colleagues feel safer including intelligent CCTV, colleague headsets and My Safety and have continued to support colleagues in the best way we can after incidents. However, we know that for organised crime and repeating offenders in particular, it doesn’t matter how many colleagues are in the store or what equipment we have.
That’s why it’s so important for colleagues not to put themselves in harm’s way if they’re faced with any type of violent crime.
We’ll continue to invest in new technology, equipment and training but we’ll also start to think about how we can partner with other retailers, the police, local communities and open up conversation with government to start to find other ways of deterring these types of crime.
I’d encourage everyone to keep the conversation alive and support us on our journey to safer colleagues, safer communities.
Head of Retail Risk Health and Safety