Carlisle Business Crime Awareness, a body that works with the police and retailers, is receiving more and more reports of staff being subjected to abuse over mask wearing restrictions.
As fittings rooms are currently closed by government guidance, there has also been a rise in complaints from retailers that customers do not adhere to this policy and attempt to try clothes on the shop floor.
Customers have, at times, stripped down to almost nothing around other customers and staff.
The partnership also says it has seen a rise in shoplifting which has been linked to the introduction of coronavirus face mask rules.
The body said that shoplifting has noticeably increased over the last few weeks with the government introduction of face masks to be worn in premises and says it has become increasingly difficult to identify those who are responsibly by staff and CCTV operators. Those who carry criminal behaviour orders and have been told not to enter premises are using masks to try conceal their identity to gain access to stores that they are banned from.
A spokesperson for CBCA said: “The danger for retail and security staff is we never know how the people are going to react, as a partnership we need to ensure consistent response to these incidents across all retailers and the police force to send a clear message to perpetrators that retail crime and any form of abuse to staff is never acceptable and will not be tolerated in this city.”
The partnership has given the following advice to retailers:
- Please make sure your shop watch radio is charged over night and used throughout the day, always best practice for your front of house staff to have this and our best tool to get backup to your store quickly
- Report any issues immediately, we have a better chance of responding quickly and dealing with incidents/individuals. If it’s not possible to report straight away please use the disc app to report your incidents
- Always put yourself, your staffs and your customers safety first, if you feel a situation is becoming out of control and putting people in danger please shout up not only do we have the partnership but a team of PCSO’s on hand to help, failing this 111 for non emergency response or 999 for a instant emergency response
A spokesperson said: “We are the front line defence in the combat of retail crime, we will always do everything we can to help protect our retailers, their staff and customers to ensure Carlisle is a safer place. Our statement is clear, our shops will not tolerate theft or abuse we’ll protect our city and do everything within our powers to bring you to justice.”