It’s taken a global pandemic, and the news comes from halfway down England, but one police force is starting to give retail violence the attention it deserves.
David Jamieson (pictured), West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), has made an emergency update to his Police and Crime Plan prioritising protection for key services during the Covid-19 crisis.
Those intimidating or targeting health or retail staff should be dealt with robustly, the plan says.
Jamieson commented: “The outstanding contribution our frontline retail workers are making in ensuring the continuation of major supplies of food and other essentials during these extremely challenging times is beyond reproach.
“They are heroes and their dedication and devotion to duty in often the most difficult circumstances, deserves our utmost thanks and gratitude.
“The update to our emergency West Midlands Police and Crime Plan reflects this contribution and we will continue to take every measure possible to ensure their safety, security and wellbeing.”
Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw praised the decision. Gavin Dadley, the union’s Midlands Divisional Officer, said: “We very much welcome our PCC in the West Midlands recognising the heroic efforts our members are making and for introducing a new priority to protect retail staff.
“Usdaw continues to work with employers to improve health and safety for staff, particularly those dealing directly with the public.
Dudlay also called on customers to stay calm, respect shopworkers and practise the necessary hygiene measures to help limit the spread of the virus.
“We all have to work together to get through this crisis,” he concluded.