More than one-third (38%) of shoppers have witnessed violence and abuse against shopworkers.
Research carried out by Yonder on behalf of the #ShopKind campaign between 15 and 17 October 2021 found that 38% of shoppers have witnessed shopworkers being verbally or physically abused.
This comes as the #ShopKind campaign urges kindness to shopworkers and customers in stores in the run-up to Christmas. Data from the Association of Convenience Stores found that 89% of shopworkers have experienced verbal abuse over the past year while USDAW research also revealed that 89% of retail staff have experienced verbal abuse; 64% were threatened by a customer and 11% were assaulted in the past 12 months.
The findings prompted an appeal to treat shopworkers with more respect.
Minister for Policing Kit Malthouse MP lent his support to the #ShopKind campaign. “The festive season should be a time of respect and goodwill, particularly for the retail staff whose hard work allows us all to enjoy a merry Christmas.
“It is completely unacceptable for anyone to threaten or assault shop workers, and this Government won’t stand for it – we are taking action including by backing the #ShopKind campaign, which provide better support to retail workers and encourage customers to treat them with dignity.
“I fully support the #Shopkind campaign, which reminds customers to shop with kindness. I would encourage all retailers to continue to show their support for the campaign and use the seasonal #Shopkind assets.”
Chief executive at charity Crimestoppers Mark Hallas 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.”
Southern Co-op reported that verbal abuse against its shopworkers has increased by 26% year-on-year. Loss prevention and security manager at Southern Co-op Gareth Lewis 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.”
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.