December 20 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, October 3, 2013
Police and shopworkers in Norwich are joining forces to crack down on abusive or anti-social shoppers following an increase in reports of staff being intimidated.
Members of the Norwich West Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) are working together with the East of England Co-op to launch the Freedom from Fear campaign as part of a joint effort to slash incidents of anti-social behaviour and intimidation.
Police and shop staff will use a range of tactics to tackle offenders including banning orders, fixed penalty notices, acceptable behaviour contracts (ABCs) and also “coffee with a copper” events at some stores where customers can meet officers and discuss any issues they might have.
The campaign which aims to raise awareness with the public that staff and shoppers have the right to work or shop without fear was launched in Norwich at the Earlham Green Lane store yesterday.
PC Joe Gutteridge, from the SNT said: “Anti-social behaviour is one of the biggest concerns for communities as it leads to deterioration in people’s quality of life and can undermine public confidence in the law and public services.”
PC Gutteridge added: “Customers and staff can often feel intimidated by the actions of a few and this behaviour will not be tolerated.”
Freedom from Fear, the idea of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW), will run for the next month in all 150 East of England Co-operative stores throughout Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex and culminate at the beginning of next month with Respect Week.
Roger Grosvenor, from the East of England Co-operative Society said: “We have seen a gradual increase of reported instances of anti-social behaviour over the past few years.
“This is mostly in the form of verbal abuse and very occasionally, physical threats.
“As a community-based ethical retailer and employer we believe that our staff and customers have the right to work and shop in a safe environment.”