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Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster has voiced his commitment to protecting retail workers who face abuse, threats and violence in the workplace.

The PCC says he is committed to ensuring the safety of employees and customers in shops across the West Midlands, as Safer Business Week begins today.

In a letter to the British Retail Consortium, the PCC said retail workers should be appreciated, heralded and thanked for the work they do.

He said: “Abuse, threats and violence towards retail workers is completely unacceptable. It will not be tolerated. It is not and never should be part of the job.

“I am committed to rebuilding community policing, so as to provide preventative, proactive, problem solving and visible policing to prevent, tackle and reduce abuse, threats and violence towards retail workers and retail crime.

“I hold the Chief Constable of West Midlands Police to account, to ensure that tackling retail crime is properly resourced and that the reduction of this type of crime, is embedded into local policing strategies.”

Some of the action the PCC has taken includes setting up a roundtable with police and retail industry professionals, including major high street names like Aldi, B&Q, Boots, Morrisons, the Co-op, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and OneStop.

The session produced multiple recommendations moving forward, including training being provided for WMP Neighbourhood Officers, so that they can provide tailored support for retailers.

The PCC added: “I support robust action to hold offenders to account, via the criminal justice system. I also support investment in essential, preventative, public services, such as drug and alcohol treatment services that can prevent abuse, threats and violence towards retail workers happening in the first place.

“Many crimes against businesses are a product of illicit drug addiction. The Offender to Rehab programme, funded by my office and others, targets drug addicted prolific offenders and reduces retail crime.

“According to the latest academic report, between July 2021 and July 2022, the Birmingham wide initiative saved retailers in the region of £800,000, after 27 prolific shoplifters were admitted to residential rehab and stopped stealing to fund their addiction.”

He added: “I encourage retailers, to always report any incidents of abuse and violence towards shop workers and retail crime to the police and provide them with any information that may assist in their investigations. I expect the police to pursue all reasonable lines of inquiry, to ensure justice for victims and so that offenders are held to account.”

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