Central England Co-op reinforces zero tolerance message after shocking and violent incident in Bakewell sees shopworker assaulted

Posted by james brindle | Published: 22/08/2022

Central England Co-op has reaffirmed its message that violence and aggression towards staff will ‘not be tolerated’ after a colleague was injured following an assault by a shoplifter during an incident in Derbyshire.

The shocking incident took place at the Market Street food store in Bakewell on the afternoon of Sunday, 14 August after a colleague at the store spotted a shoplifter looking to conceal alcohol in a bag.

After approaching the thief, a brief conversation took place and as one bottle of spirits was handed back, the colleague was physically assaulted, causing injury to the left side of their body and a slight head injury.

As well as the injuries the colleague and the whole team have understandably been left extremely shaken by the ordeal and all are being supported. CEC is helping police with their investigation.

Craig Goldie, Loss Prevention Manager, said: “Everyone at Central England Co-op has been shocked and appalled at this shocking incident at our Bakewell store where our colleague was assaulted and left with painful injuries while they were just trying to do their job serving their local community.

“We strongly condemn any form of abuse or violence towards our colleagues and we’re offering our full support to the entire team at our Market Street store. We’re working closely with the local police force to bring the criminal responsible to justice.

“These types of incidents reinforce our ongoing campaign calling for better protection for shopworkers and highlights our zero-tolerance policy on all types of crime aimed at our colleagues and customers.

“Once again, we’re sending a clear message out to anyone who might consider targeting our colleagues and stores – it’s not worth the risk and no crime will be tolerated.”

This comes after tougher penalties came into law for those who attack shop workers following a campaign by retailers, including CEC.

Under the new legislation, abuse against individuals who serve the public has become an aggravated offence and CEC is continuing its work to highlight the impact of violence and abuse towards its store colleagues and warn would-be criminals it is not worth the risk.

New figures covering the first six months of this year from CEC stores do show some green shoots of improvement with significant drops in verbal abuse and threats compared to the previous year when measures such as social distancing and mandatory mask wearing were more prevalent.

However, the figures also reveal continued rises in assaults, with 56 recorded in the first six months of the year compared to 41 in the same period in 2021, and in thefts, with 5,855 compared to 5,356.

Central England Co-op has rolled out a range of different measures in recent years including security assistance buttons and using tracking devices in more products to deter would-be thieves.

It has also been rolling out colleague body cameras to dozens of stores following a successful trial designed to keep staff safe and help drive down crime in stores.


Notes to editors

About Central England Co-operative

Central England Co-operative is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK with interests in food, funeral, floral and property investment.

Owned by hundreds of thousands of members, its over 8,000 colleagues serve customers across 400 plus trading sites in 20 counties in the East and West Midlands, Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire.

Its purpose is to inspire communities to create a sustainable Society for all.

It actively campaigns for the Government to increase sentencing for violent attacks on retail workers and works with FareShare Midlands and hundreds of food banks, generating enough food donations to create over 2.1 million meals for people in need.

The Society embraces inclusivity and equality and is a signed-up member to the Business in the Community (BITC) Race at Work Charter, while it is also fully committed to addressing the impact of climate change and is on track to be Carbon Neutral by 2030. 

It invests a percentage of its trading profit into local communities through its Community Dividend Fund scheme which has seen over £175,000 shared out between 116 good causes over the past 12 months.

Central England Co-op was named Leading Co-op of the Year by Co-operatives UK in 2021.

Press office contact: James Brindle, Public Relations Lead

Contact details: email james.brindle@centralengland.coop and telephone 07392 080028.