This Christmas shopping period marks the first since 2019 where stores have been fully open without social distancing rules, and it is expected to be very busy.
The force is joining the Home Office and charity Crimestoppers to remind customers to be kind to shopworkers and fellow customers.
Over the last 12 months on average there have been 36 incidents a month involving shopworkers across Lincolnshire which have ranged from shopworkers being verbally abused to incidents of employees being physically assaulted. And the polling of 1,086 UK shoppers carried out by Yonder between October 15 and 17 found that 38 per cent have witnessed shopworkers being verbally or physically abused; 86 per cent of consumers acknowledge that shopworkers face much higher workloads during the Christmas period; and 58 per cent of consumers will be visiting their high streets to do their Christmas shopping.
Especially in light of the key front-facing they played during the pandemic, the #ShopKind campaign urges the public to be mindful of shopworkers’ essential role serving the public, and emphasises that workers should be treated with respect, kindness and gratitude.
Superintendent Lee Pache said: “The overwhelming majority of shoppers recognise how busy shopworkers are during the Christmas period, but there remains a minority of people that are aggressive and, in the worst cases, physically violent towards people working in shops.
“Everyone has the right to go to work without the fear of violence or intimidation, and while we recognise that shopping and the festive season can be stressful for some, we are really clear, there is no excuse to treat shopworkers with anything but dignity and respect, therefore we want to reassure those in the retail sector that we are here to support and work with you to protect employees.”
The campaign is Home Office-funded and retail-industry backed which aims to raise awareness about the levels of violence and abuse against shopworkers, encourage positive behaviour in shops, and acknowledges the essential role of shopworkers in serving the public. The campaign is supported by major high street retailers as well as the nation’s independent shopkeepers and the Association of Convenience Stores. The ShopKind campaign is now visible across high streets and on social media.
The British Retail Consortium reports that 450 shopworkers suffer violence and abuse each day, and the Association of Convenience Stores estimates that 89 per cent of shopworkers have experienced verbal abuse.
Mark Hallas, Chief Executive at charity Crimestoppers, said: “Our high streets play a pivotal role in our communities across the country and whilst Christmas can have its own stresses, there is absolutely no excuse for violent or abusive behaviour towards workers. Please help us stamp out abuse and if you know who is responsible but want to stay anonymous, tell our charity what you know. Call freephone 0800 555 111 or visit Crimestoppers-uk.org. Together, we can help protect our shops and shopworkers from harm at this busy but special time of year.”
As well as 100 per cent anonymous reporting to Crimestoppers, you can also report to Lincolnshire Police via 101. Always call 999 in an emergency.