02 Feb 2021

Bira member joins campaign for tougher laws to protect shop staff

A Bira member has told how he was racially abused for asking a customer to wear a face covering.

Former Bira President, Surinder Josan of All Seasons DIY in Smethwick, West Midlands, joined a campaign by the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner to raise awareness of the threatening situations many retailers are facing during the pandemic.

Surinder Josan

The initiative, backed by Bira, has been launched by Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Waheed Saleem who is calling for tougher laws to ensure shop workers are better protected from abuse.

He said the level of abuse against shop workers in the West Midlands rose by a fifth in 2020. In 2019, there were 781 incidents of abuse reported to the police. In 2020, numbers rose to 934.

Supporting the scheme, Andrew Goodacre, Bira's CEO, said: "We are really pleased to see the abuse of retail staff and shop owners being addressed in this way. It has been a growing problem, made worse during this Covid-19 crisis.

“Any abuse of retail employees is unacceptable. These employees are helping to supply essential goods to their communities and must be protected where necessary.

“We support this latest important campaign from the West Midlands Police Crime Commissioner.”

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