Harborne Co-op worker attacked by shoplifter

Female Central England Co-op worker injured as male shoplifter tried to steal items

A female worker at a Central England Co-op store in Harborne suffered broken ribs in an assault by a shoplifter.

The woman was attacked at the store on Court Oak Road on Sunday (March 20). She was pulled over and injured as she hit the floor after stopping a male shoplifter as he tried to exit the store with stolen items.

Central England Co-op said they are now supporting their colleague and the team at the local store, as well as helping police with their inquiries.

The retail company has also stressed that it has a zero policy towards violence and aggression towards staff, with staff being issued with body cameras last year.

Has there been an increase in cases of violence and aggression towards Central England Co-op staff recently?

New figures for 2021/22 from Central England Co-op showed that nearly 17,000 incidents have been reported over the last year including 117 assaults, 1,250 cases of verbal abuse and threats, 442 anti-social behaviour reports and 166 direct incidents related to Covid-19.

This means, compared to last year, the total number of incidents have jumped by 26.1%, with rises in verbal abuse, threats and anti-social behaviour.

Central England Co-opCentral England Co-op
Central England Co-op

What is Central England Co-op doing to help staff?

Central England Co-op has rolled out a range of different measures in recent months including security assistance buttons and using tracking devices in more products to deter would-be thieves.

It announced the roll out of colleague body cameras to over 50 stores last year following a successful trial designed to keep staff safe and help drive down crime in stores.

This comes after the retailer welcomed the news that an amendment has now been tabled by the Home Office to make an attack on shopworkers an aggravated offence after years of campaigning.

It, along with partners across the co-operative movement, and fellow retailers and trade unions, have been campaigning for better protection for colleagues with incidents of violence against shopworkers rising sharply in recent years.

Court Oak Road, HarborneCourt Oak Road, Harborne
Court Oak Road, Harborne

What has Central England Co-op said about the attack at the Harbone store in its own words?

Craig Goldie, Loss Prevention Manager, said: “Everyone at Central England Co-op has been shocked and appalled at this shocking incident at our Court Oak Road store where our colleague was assaulted and left with painful injuries while they were just trying to do their job serving their local community.

“We strongly condemn any form of abuse or violence towards our colleagues and we’re offering our full support to the entire team at our Court Oak Road store. We’re working closely with the local police force to bring the criminal responsible to justice.

“These types of incidents reinforce our ongoing campaign calling for better protection for shopworkers and highlights our zero tolerance policy on all types of crime aimed at our colleagues and customers.

“Once again, we’re sending a clear message out to anyone who might consider targeting our colleagues and stores – it’s not worth the risk and no crime will be tolerated.”

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