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Retail workers who face abuse and violence at work have been given the backing of West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, Simon Foster.

Violence and abuse against retail workers has reached a shocking high.

According to figures from the British Retail Consortium’s most recent Crime Survey, for the period April 2020 to March 2021, there were 1,300 incidents every single day – almost treble the 455 per day in the previous year.

Throughout the pandemic, people in retail worked tirelessly to ensure we had access to the food and goods we needed and wanted.

Alongside NHS and care workers, they were rightly applauded by the government and the public for their hard work.

During this time, they were met with an unacceptable level of abuse and violence – each incident taking an emotional toll on them, their families, and their colleagues.

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, Simon Foster said: “I want to offer my unconditional support for retail workers who have or are experiencing abuse and violence in the workplace.

“Retail staff should be thanked and heralded for being front line workers who provide a necessary service to people every day.

“For them to be targeted like this is never acceptable.

“My Police and Crime Plan sets out my pledge to rebuild community policing to keep people, their families, retail workers and the local community safe and secure.

“I will also continue to lobby government for fair funding to level up policing in the West Midlands and replace our 1,000 missing officers.”

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, Simon Foster, is supportive of tougher and effective sentencing for people who commit violence against shop workers.

He added: “However, my starting point will always be prevention, because the prevention of violence towards shopworkers is always better than having to deal with the consequences of violence towards shopworkers.

“A key example of this is the offender to rehab programme, which diverts prolific shoplifters, who steal to finance an alcohol or drug addiction, into abstinence based recovery.”

Retailers spent £715 million on crime prevention in 2020/21 – from hiring in-store security teams, training staff on de-escalation, and investing in CCTV and body worn cameras for staff.

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster said he and his team have held meetings throughout his time in office with representatives of retail businesses and trade unions.

He said he would be open to further talks to see what more can be done to tackle abuse and violence in the run up to the busy – and often stressful – Christmas shopping period.

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