As we all rush around like mad things preparing for Christmas (and getting our booster jabs!) please remember to ‘ShopKind’.  This is a national initiative to keep shop workers safe by encouraging everyone to show more respect for each other, keep our temper as we deal with the inevitable frustrations around us and maintain our sense of humour.

Sadly, 9 out of 10* shop workers nationally have experienced some form of abuse or anti-social behaviour over the last year as they go about their work.  As many as 1 in 10 have actually been assaulted.  This criminal activity takes place throughout the year but is often much worse at times like Christmas, when everyone is under pressure with huge ‘to do’ lists.  This year we have yet again to face the additional disruptions caused by Covid.

We all need to make more of an effort to show patience, tolerance and sympathy for each other, particularly with shop staff, who are often under sustained pressure to deliver a great customer experience to each and every one of their customers. Our hard working shop staff have much to worry about, from the shortage of stock to the long term viability of their jobs, so we should all show more gratitude for what they do to look after us.

Last week I was in Gloucester City to promote our local ShopKind campaign.  The City works hard to keep its shop workers and security staff safe, and has developed its excellent business crime reduction partnership named City Safe, using city protection officers who deter shoplifting, environmental crime and anti-social behaviour. These officers are partnership funded, operating in pairs, and can be alerted by radio system from any of the 200 shops in the scheme based in Gloucester (now extended to Stroud). There are also over 60 CCTV cameras in Gloucester City, which are linked to the Constabulary’s Force Control Room and can be used to guide a police response when required.

Early in the New Year, I will launch my Police and Crime Prevention Plan, which highlights my zero-tolerance approach to all types of anti-social behaviour.  Moving forward, I want to see our Constabulary play an even more active role in tackling ASB, deterring retail crime like shoplifting (which often fuels addictions), and protecting our shop workers from abuse and assault.  But, this task requires us all to play our part, so the next time you go shopping, please, please make an extra effort to be considerate, smile and Shopkind.  Happy Christmas and a healthy New Year!

*Stat from research by The Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers in the UK