Taking action to tackle anti-social behaviour

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For the fifth consecutive year, the Co-op has partnered with Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) to tackle anti-social behaviour in local communities and Co-op stores. 

The East of England Co-op works closely with representatives from regional police forces, Usdaw and local authorities in a unique multi-agency partnership to tackle anti-social behaviour in the community and to support Co-op colleagues who experience anti-social behaviour in stores. 

Scott Walker, East of England Co-op Anti-Social Behaviour Officer, comments: "By working in partnership with multiple agencies we can tackle the root cause of the issue, rather than just dealing with the aftermath. Our in-store colleagues do not come to work to be abused - it is not part of the job and should never be accepted. 

"Victims of anti-social behaviour can be left very distressed from the experience. The work we do helps colleagues adversely affected by these incidents return to work, reassured by the measures taken to tackle unwanted behaviour."

Anti-social behaviour covers a wide range of incidents, from swearing and threatening language, to graffiti, criminal damage, violence and robbery. 

As part of his role, as Anti-Social Behaviour Officer and member of Ipswich Borough Council Anti-Social Behaviour Committee, Scott runs a rehabilitation progreamme for young offencers convicted of committing crimes in East of England Co-op stores. This programme see youth offenders spending a day with Scott, who takes them through the impact of their actions upon Co-op customers and staff. 

In addition to this Scott works alongside Ipswich Borough Council to tackle the rise of anti-social behaviour in the Chantry area of Ipswich which has experienced growing problems with gang and youth violence. 

“The rehabilitation programme has been well received,” explains Scott. “Initially youngsters tend to be reticent but gradually throughout the day they demonstrate an understanding of the consequences of their actions on the community they live in.

“My partnership work with Ipswich Borough Council, particularly in Chantry, sees us go into the community and offer the public, who may be too scared to go to the police, an alternative option for them to go for advice on how to report and how to react to anti-social behaviour they witness.”

One of the most common reports of anti-social behaviour is abusive language after asking a customer for ID. Video footage recreating this scenario will be used at the roadshow where visitors will be asked how they would react to these circumstances.

Since its launch last year, 3,300 colleagues have completed an East of England Co-op training programme, which provides step-by-step guidance on how to identify anti-social behaviour, how to react to it and who to report incidents to.

Lee Hammond, Head of Security at the East of England Co-op,  said: “Through Freedom From Fear, we are aiming to significantly reduce the number of incidents in our stores, ensuring colleagues and customers can work and shop in a safe, friendly environment.

“We are looking forward to engaging with the Ipswich community, to help spread the message that anti-social behaviour is never acceptable and there are many authorities that can provide support to anyone affected.”

For more information on the Usdaw Freedom From Fear campaign, visit www.usdaw.org.uk/Campaigns/Freedom-From-Fear