Masks no excuse for abuse of workers
By Rob Freeman | 24th July 2020
Face coverings have become compulsory in shops in England amid appeals for customers to be kind to shop workers.
Gloucestershire's Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl issued the appeal after figures from the Association of Convenience Stores revealed half a million shop workers had been physically or verbally assaulted in the last year.
Mr Surl said: "This really makes me cross, they work hard and deserve nothing less than our thanks and respect.
"No one should be verbally or physically abused in their workplace and I know the constabulary is taking abuse against shop workers very seriously.
"It will not be tolerated in Gloucestershire, and I urge the public to act with kindness, compassion and respect towards our hard-working shop staff."
The introduction of compulsory face mask wearing in England from today has added another potential flashpoint.
Mr Surl said: "We all need to respect these rules and remember that people enforcing the wearing of face coverings in shops are just doing their jobs."
Det Supt Steve Bean, Gloucestershire Constabulary's head of investigations, also appealed for people not to take frustrations out on staff as the new rules on masks are introduced.
He said: "At the start of lockdown people were restricted on how many items they could buy.
"We saw a number of verbal and physical assaults against shop workers in Gloucestershire, and we do not want to see the same thing happen again with the introduction of compulsory face coverings.
"Please be reassured, we will robustly deal with those individuals and make it clear that this behaviour is totally unacceptable, not just in the eyes of the law, but in society in general."
Face coverings are now compulsory in shops and supermarkets, indoor shopping centres, public transport, indoor transport and at banks, building societies or post offices.
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