Safer communities

In this section

Making the places we live and work in safer and happier.

Everyone has the right to live, shop and work in a friendly and safe environment. By working in partnership with local communities, police forces, councils and really taking a stand for what we believe in, we hope to make not only our stores but the towns and villages in which we trade safe and welcoming places to be.

  • Reducing the Strength

    We’ve worked with Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex Constabulary Police to remove cheap, super-strength alcohol from all of our stores.

    Considered a model of best working practice, Reducing the Strength in Ipswich is a multi-agency project involving Suffolk Police, Suffolk County Council, Ipswich Borough Council, NHS Suffolk and us, the East of England Co-op.

    Over two thirds of the towns off-licensed stores are now signed up to the initiative and the number of reports of street drinking in Ipswich continue to reduce.

    An independent report into the impact Reducing the Strength showed that our volume of alcohol sales remained consistent and yet the number of alcohol units bought by our customers dropped by 113,000.

    Suffolk Police Merit Award

    In recognition of his leading role in the campaign, Roger Grosvenor our Executive Officer - Retail was awarded a County Policing Command Merit Award from Suffolk Police.

    The award, rarely presented to those outside of the County Policing Command, was made at Police Headquarters in Martlesham by County Policing Commander Chief Superintendent Jon Brighton.

  • Freedom from Fear

    Introduced in 2013, Freedom from Fear - an annual campaign - aims to highlight to customers and local communities the issue of violence and abuse towards shop workers, and to encourage shoppers to do their bit to help keep our stores safe and welcoming.

    Each November we work in partnership with USDAW (the trade union of shop, distributive and allied workers) and local police forces to raise awareness of the campaign, ahead of the busy festive period, which can see customers become more stressed, increasing the likelihood of antisocial behaviour.

    Freedom From Fear Norfolk (11)Each store involved in the campaign is now fitted with a new ‘Response Alarm’. When activated, the alarm notifies a member of our Secure Response Service team, enabling a controller to see and record antisocial behaviour live via in-store cameras. The controller can even play a series of automated warning messages over in-store speakers. The system is currently being tested with a view to a wider roll-out across all of our stores.

    Our anti-social behaviour officers

    As a direct result of the campaign, an Anti-Social Behaviour Support Officer now works with our colleagues year-round to respond to incidents, support customers and gather evidence for police prosecutions. In the first year they dealt with over 400 reports of anti-social behaviour.