• Every day more than 850 incidents of violence and abuse are recorded in the retail sector
  • The #ShopKind campaign aims to remind shoppers about remaining considerate to shopworkers
  • The campaign is backed by the Home Office and supported by over 100 high street retailers
  • Chris Nelson said “Treating each other with respect is a fundamental part of everyday life. Those who abuse and assault staff will be met with the full force of the law”

Gloucestershire’s PCC Chris Nelson has put his support behind a new campaign aiming to reduce the abuse and in some cases assault faced by retail workers.

The British Retail Consortium’s annual Crime Survey shows that there are over 850 incidents of violence and abuse every day in the retail sector. In June 2022, new provisions came into force as part of the Policing, Crime, Sentencing and Courts (PCSC) Act to make attacking an individual who serves the public, including shopworkers, an aggravated offence.

Consumer polling conducted for the #ShopKind campaign has revealed that more than one in three people believe that shopping has become more frustrating as a result of the cost-of-living crisis and 36% of customers have personally witnessed a shopworker being verbally or physically abused by another customer.

Gloucestershire’s PCC, Chris Nelson, said: “I fully support this campaign. We all need to be kinder to each other as we go about our daily lives and visit shops. Treating each other with respect is a fundamental part of everyday life. Those who don’t and abuse and assault staff will be met with the full force of the law. Being kind to each other is so much easier.”

The #ShopKind campaign, backed by the Home Office and supported by over 100 leading high street retailers, the nation’s shopkeepers and trade union USDAW, aims to remind customers about the importance of being considerate to shopworkers and each other. The new polling highlights 31% of customers are more anxious when they shop, and which situations are most likely to lead to abuse of shopworkers. The most frequently cited triggers in the survey were:

  1. Not enough staff to serve
  2. Queues at the till
  3. Products not being available

This week (17-23 April) retailers are reminding customers to #ShopKind in stores and acknowledge the important role of shopworkers to communities. New films from the #ShopKind campaign highlight the impact that abuse by customers can have on shopworkers here.

Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium said: “The appalling level of incidents of violence and abuse against our retail colleagues means the work of the #ShopKind campaign is more critical than ever. While a confrontation may be over in minutes, the physical and emotional impact on the victims and their families can last a lifetime. People in retail work hard to look after customers, helping us find what we need, keeping shelves stocked and delivering goods. No one should ever go to work fearing for their safety. We remind customers to shop kind and be respectful to retail workers and fellow customers.”

Richard Inglis, Welcome store franchisee in partnership with Southern Co-op, said: ”I do my best to protect my colleagues from any abuse but sometimes people’s frustrations can unexpectedly turn into anger. I was grateful for the opportunity to get the ShopKind message across in the latest campaign videos as it’s a personal plea for customers to remember that we’re human at the end of the day. We have so many lovely customers but sadly verbal abuse can have a seriously negative effect on us all so please try and stay kind.”

National Business Crime Centre Lead Superintendent Patrick Holdaway said: “Shopworkers play an essential role in every high street and community hub up and down the country, but the reality is they face abuse and violence daily. The Shopkind campaign plays an essential role in highlighting the issues they face, but also in encouraging people to stop and think before being rude or abusive to staff working in retail. No matter how frustrated people get when they are shopping, there is no excuse for being abusive, rude or disrespectful to people who are there doing their jobs. The NBCC is proud to host the Shopkind campaign material on the website and we would encourage retailers to show their support for the campaign and their employees by downloading and displaying the material in their stores.”

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.

Retailers looking to get involved with the campaign during #Shopkind Week (17th – 23rd April) can download supporting materials from the National Business Crime Centre website at https://nbcc.police.uk/business-support/shopkind/shopkind-webpage.