Arundel & South Downs MP Andrew Griffith visited the Co-op store in Steyning High Street last Friday (14 February) to hear how retail crime is affecting shop floor staff and looking at ways to fix the problem.
The MP met Jenny Alleyne from the Co-op’s Head Office along with the area management team and local store colleagues, to discuss a programme of work which the retailer is undertaking to make shop floor work safer.
The ‘Safer colleagues, safer communities’ report looks at the importance of looking after their staff, noting “stock and property can be replaced, people can’t.” The report also outlines their response to the growing issue. This includes upgraded CCTV, staff headsets providing connectivity to colleagues, and a significant partnership with SECOM which provides remote security monitoring.
The MP heard the shocking national statistics that every day 250 shop workers are the victim of a violent incident, with many thefts involving confrontation and weapons. The most common assaults happen when shop-workers are simply trying to enforce the law by challenging and verifying the age of those wishing to buy age-restricted products. If shop-workers don’t enforce the law then they are personally liable for breaking it.
Mr Griffith met one of the young employees from Co-op’s Steyning store and listened to his personal account of being assaulted when simply doing his job. The impact was felt, not only by the employee, but also his family and colleagues.
The MP tweeted after his visit: “This really is important to me. Staff in our retail stores need to be – and to feel – safe. As @KatyBourne knows, offenders must be tackled and prosecuted. No one is above the law and no crime is too small to be followed up.”
Mr Griffith added: “I am grateful to the team at Steyning’s Co-op, and the store’s head office, for raising this issue with me. It was important for me to hear about this first-hand and to meet the staff affected but these specific crimes. I have offered my support in looking at how we can tackle this locally and nationally and will be discussing this when I next meet with the Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne.”