Southern Co-op is one of the retailers across the country urging shoppers to #ShopKind when they visit high streets this Christmas, as new polling reveals that over one third of shoppers (38%) have witnessed violence and abuse against shop workers.
The findings come as the #ShopKind campaign urges kindness to shop workers and customers in stores this Christmas.
Retailers, the Home Office and charity Crimestoppers are reminding customers to be kind to shop workers and fellow customers. The latest retail industry data suggests that 450 shop workers are abused each day and it’s feared this may rise during the busy festive season.
Southern Co-op’s own figures are reflective of this national data as they show that verbal abuse against its shop workers has increased by 26% year on year.
Gareth Lewis, Loss Prevention and Security Manager at Southern Co-op, said: "Christmas is not always a happy time of year for everyone and the pressure can become overwhelming. Our store colleagues often bear the brunt of this as it quickly turns into rage and an unacceptable verbal attack.
"Whilst there have been some improvements in crime levels, sadly, verbal abuse has increased across our 200 stores by 26% over the last 12 months compared to the previous year. So, while we continue to invest in and take action to protect our colleagues, we would urge everyone to think and shop kind this Christmas."
The #ShopKind campaign urges the public to be mindful of shop workers’ essential role serving the public, and emphasises that workers should be treated with respect, kindness and gratitude. Over 86% of shoppers recognise that shop workers face a much higher workload during the Christmas period, but there remains a minority of people that are aggressive and, in the worst cases, physically violent towards people working in shops.
#ShopKind is supported by major high street retailers as well as the nation’s independent shopkeepers and the shop workers’ union Usdaw. The ShopKind campaign is now visible across high streets and on social media.
Mark Hallas, Chief Executive at charity Crimestoppers, said: “Our high streets play a pivotal role in our communities across the country and whilst Christmas can have its own stresses, there is absolutely no excuse for violent or abusive behaviour towards workers. Please help us stamp out abuse and if you know who is responsible but want to stay anonymous, tell our charity what you know. Call freephone 0800 555 111 or visit Crimestoppers-uk.org. Together, we can help protect our shops and shopworkers from harm at this busy but special time of year.”
If you have any information about someone who is abusive or violent towards retail workers, please let Crimestoppers know 100% anonymously on freephone 0800 555 111 or by competing a simple and secure Anonymous Online Form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.