National campaign to help keep retailers and shop-workers safe
As your Police and Crime Commissioner I have been giving some thought to the increasing number of shop-workers who become victims of crime and anti-social behaviour (ASB) at this time of year.
With our high streets busy with Christmas shoppers, it feels right to take a moment to focus on the 400+ shop-workers who become victims of crime or ASB every day at this time of year.
I find it shocking to think, that at a time when we are all so reliant on our shop-workers, so many of them suffer from daily verbal and physical abuse. To help them avoid these threats I am giving my full support to the national #ShopKind campaign.
Clearly, violence and abuse towards shop-workers is utterly despicable and unacceptable, everyone has the right to feel safe at work.
Therefore, I would like to echo the intent and ambition of the #ShopKind campaign and urge all shoppers to be mindful of their attitude and behaviour towards shop-workers; especially during these busy, stressful and abnormal times. All shoppers should make every effort to be more mindful of how they treat shop-workers, and fellow customers. I urge, all shoppers to shop with respect, kindness and gratitude. Remember quite often it may be a young person in their first job and that could be your daughter or son.
In my Police and Crime Plan I recognise the harmful impact and burden of crime and ASB on businesses and their staff. Therefore, I am highlighting the need to improve confidence in the Police response to such crimes and violence against shopworkers. Tackling these unacceptable risks and threats to retailers, shopworkers and other shoppers is a priority for the Force as it works to put victims and communities first to make Dorset the safest county.
Along with my team and the Force I have created, and continue to develop, an effective ‘Dorset Safer Business Partnership’ involving local businesses, their representatives and trade bodies to help make Dorset’s high streets and retail destinations safe and pleasant places to be. Furthermore, I am delighted to confirm that Insp. Helen Deakin is now strategic lead for business crime, with responsibility to ensure that the force’s response improves, and that policies and processes fit and adapt to the known needs of the business community.To support, protect and respond to business needs in even better ways I will strengthen business and retail focussed Watch schemes, such as Shop Watch and Hotel Watch.
Reporting business crime will improve as the Force builds its intelligence on business and retail crime and makes it easier, and quicker, for incidents to be reported to Dorset Police.
As my Police and Crime Plan progresses, I will ensure there are efficient processes in place for good sound practical design and crime prevention advice to be delivered to businesses, helping them create safe and secure retail spaces that remove the risk and threats as well as preventing crime and ASB before it happens.
Greater visibility of police officers and closer engagement with retailers, via the developing, ‘Dorset Safer Business Partnership’, will help create safe shopping environments.
I am also delighted with Dorset Police’s commitment to take the Force beyond simply responding to incidents better and helping retailers improve safety within their physical retail spaces, but they will soon include invitations for retailers, across Dorset, to attend ‘awareness’ training sessions highlighting cyber-crime risks and threats with practical steps to take-away to help keep their staff, customers and businesses safe online.
My message is clear – despite whatever is going on in anyone else’s life, no shop worker deserves to be treated badly. I am therefore asking everyone to be more mindful of the true value and service our hardworking shop workers offer us every day. Please remember; be respectful, kind and gracious when out shopping.
It just leaves me to say, I wish you all a very safe and happy Christmas and New Year, please do remember to #ShopKind.
David Sidwick, Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner
If you have any information about someone who is abusive or violent towards retail and shop staff, please report it to Dorset Police by emailing or calling 101 for non-emergencies or 999 in an emergency. Alternatively you can report it online to Dorset Police or 100% anonymously to CrimeStoppers on freephone 0800 555 111 or through their untraceable Anonymous Online Form.