Children in Lichfield and Burntwood are being asked to showcase their creative skills as part of an initiative urging people to be kind to shop workers.

The poster scheme is being launched by city-based retailer Central England Co-op.

Parents will be able to pick up a pack in store for children to bring to life and display in their own window or hand back to the shop for workers to create a display of the posters.

It comes after research showed that over the past 12 months:

  • Incidents of verbal abuse jumped by 167%
  • Anti-social behaviour rose by 39%
  • Assaults were up by 35%
  • Threats increased by 16%

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

Store manager Jamie Joyce said:

“Our Be Kind campaign is extremely important and highlights the need for all of us to work together to ensure colleagues are treated with kindness and respect as they work around the clock to provide food and essentials for our communities.

“We thought that by designing a special poster pack it would help us spread the message further as well as giving youngsters something fun and free to do during lockdown.”

Jamie Joyce, Central England Co-op

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

Craig Goldie, loss prevention manager, said:

“Our teams have gone above and beyond over the last 12 months to ensure our communities have access to vital food and essentials, only to be greeted with shocking incidents like those we have seen in recent months.

“We want to send a clear message to anyone who might be thinking of committing a crime at one of our stores – this behaviour will not be tolerated and targeting our stores is not worth the risk.

“We need everyone to be kind and treat our colleagues with care, compassion and respect as they work around the clock for our communities.

“We want people to think long and hard about the person wearing our uniform – they will be someone’s much loved family member.”

Craig Goldie, Central England Co-op

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