By Jo Whitfield, Food CEO
It’s been a busy start to the year for our Safer Colleagues, Safer Communities campaign. We’ve been speaking to leaders from all over the Co-op about what we achieved last year, what’s to come and encouraging them to take action to help our cause.
One of the things you can see in our ‘One year on report’ is the support we gave to the Home Office call for evidence into violence and abuse towards shop workers, which closed on 28 June 2019. Over 600 brave Co-op colleagues shared their experiences of violence and intimidation with the Government. But months later, there’s been no plan of action from the Home Office or Kit Malthouse MP, the Minister responsible.
That’s when our brilliant Co-op colleagues stepped in! Over 5,000 of you have written to your local MPs demanding a response from the Home Office. A huge thank you to everyone who helped us with this. We’ve had support from MPs too. Last week in a Westminster Hall debate, Alex Norris MP asked Boris Johnson a question about violence at work on behalf of all shopworkers, highlighting our Co-op as the leading business looking to address this issue.
Alex Norris MP:
“Mr Speaker, every day an estimated 280 shop workers will be victims of violence at work. At my local Co-op a staff member was hit with a glass bottle. Now the Co-op is a good employer and want that to stop. So, they and other local retailers engaged with the Governments call for evidence around violence towards shop staff. Seven and a half months later they’re awaiting a response. Mr Prime Minister will you commit today to publish a response to the call for evidence and will you meet with me and a group of shop workers who have experienced violence at work to hear about what happened to them.’’
Boris Johnson PM:
‘’I certainly will make that time to take into the honourable gentlemen. I’m glad he raised it. We should not tolerate crimes of violence against shop workers, or indeed anybody else.”
With your help, we’re really starting to make cut through on this campaign. If you haven’t already done so, you can download the letter here and send it to your local MP – make sure you pop your home address on there, so they can respond to you.
And there’s more to come. We’ve invited hundreds of MPs into our shops at the end of March during Antisocial Behaviour Awareness week to talk to them about our campaign. Let’s hope we’ll have received a response by then!
In the meantime, we’re busy trialling lots of things in shops for those most affected by violent crime and theft including body worn cameras, personal safety devices and changes to the way our drivers transport high value items. You can read more about the other things we’re doing here.