THE Co-operative Group has pledged to increase training for its staff and is introducing new work rosters to ensure that manages are on duty at convenience stores whenever they are open in an effort to curb violence and unruly behaviour in shops.
Announcing the moves as part of the Group's support for Usdaw's Freedom from Fear campaign, Chief Executive Martin Beaumont said he wanted to see retail crime included in police performance targets and the setting up of a national register of police response times to incidents.
Mr Beaumont (pictured), who visited the Group's Welcome store in Camberwell New Road, London, with Home Secretary David Blunkett on Usdaw's National Respect for Shopworkers' Day last week, added that efforts should also be stepped up to turn youngsters away from shop crime by tackling anti-social behaviour in schools.
The Co-op Group has increased the number of uniformed security guards in stores and is also providing staff with digital radio communicators toalert each other and raise the alarm when faced with a potentially dangerous situation ? an initiative that has helped reduce customer theft and violence in stores where it is used by 70 per cent.