By Gavin West, Store Manager at Mytholmroyd, Burnley Road store

I remember when headsets were first being rolled out, many of us weren’t so keen on the idea. It took some time to get used to them, but now we couldn’t imagine life without them.

I know Co-op is doing so much for the Safer Colleagues, Safer Communities campaign but sadly our store suffers from high levels of crime, with shoplifting being the most frequent. We recently experienced a terrifying incident where a shoplifter seriously assaulted a colleague.

Thanks to quick thinking and the use of our headsets, we were able to isolate the colleague suffering from a head injury and make them feel comfortable while waiting for help to arrive.

When help arrived, one of us stayed with the injured colleague while the other spoke to the emergency services operator, and thanks to the headsets, we all stayed in constant communication giving regular updates to each other. I’m pleased to say; our colleague has made a full recovery and is back at work.

The great thing about wearing headsets is that would-be shoplifters think we’re speaking to someone else, like the police, so we all feel safer and can talk to each other to keep everyone in the loop with what’s going on.

I can’t imagine life without headsets. At the time of this incident, they allowed us to act fast, work efficiently but most importantly reassured everyone in that terrifying moment that they weren’t alone and that help was on its way.

I’ve also shared my story with the Home Office as part of the Safer Colleagues, Safer Communities campaign. If you’ve had a similar experience, why don’t you share your story too?

Thank you, Co-op, for investing in over £4m to rollout headsets.