MP gives his support to shopworkers attacked by shoplifters at Erdington Co-op and renews call for tougher sentences

Posted by james brindle | Published: 17/08/2021

A Birmingham MP has condemned a violent incident which saw colleagues at a Central England Co-op food store in Erdington attacked while doing their job and emphasised his support for the campaign for tougher sentences for perpetrators of assaults on shopworkers.

Jack Dromey, MP for Birmingham Erdington, spoke out after after a group of shoplifters’ attacked colleagues at the Marsh Lane store with one punched in the face during the shocking incident last week.

The store colleagues involved received minor injuries during the incident and were understandably extremely shaken by the ordeal. They are supporting police with their investigation.

Mr Dromey, who has been a vocal supporter of the campaign for greater protection for shopworkers, said he was ‘shocked’ by the latest assault on ‘innocent shopworkers going about their job’.

He said: “I am shocked by the assault on three Erdington shopworkers going about their job serving the public. An unmistakable message needs to be sent that those who assault shopworkers will face tougher sentences.”

This comes after the retailer asked people to ‘be kind’ as part of a campaign during the Covid-19 pandemic encouraging customers to treat shop colleagues with respect and to repeat the Co-op’s long-term message to would-be criminals that ‘it is not worth the risk’ to target them.

New research has shown that, in the last 12 months, incidents of verbal abuse jumped by 167%, anti-social behaviour by 39%, assaults by 35% and threats by 16% compared to 2019.

The retailer also revealed that 312 crimes related directly to Covid-19 have been recorded in stores since the start of the pandemic.

Recently, to help combat this problem, the retailer rolled out a range of different measures including security assistance buttons and using tracking devices in more products to deter would-be thieves.

The retailer has also been working with other major retailers, unions, industry bodies, police and crime commissioners and over 200 MPs to push the Government to crackdown further on those who abuse or attack shopworkers via the introduction of tougher penalties such as an automatic prison term.


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 7,800 colleagues serve customers across 400 plus trading sites in 16 counties in the East and West Midlands, Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.

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 contacts: Rob Smyth and James Brindle

Phone - 01543 421390

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