Abuse experienced by shopworkers has risen by a quarter in the past year according to a survey conducted by retail union Usdaw, the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers.
In 2016 around two thirds of those working in shops were verbally abused, with 40% claiming that they had been threatened whilst at work, an increase of 38% on the previous 12 months.
Some of the incidents reported by participants range from verbal abuse dished out by disgruntled customers, to physical assaults and threatening behaviour involving the use of weapons. In one example, a frozen gammon was thrown at a store employee by an irate member of the public. Other cases include threats of physical violence being made against staff, with some even being followed home after work.
Shoplifting and refusal to sell age restricted goods are often flashpoints, although workers are also commonly targeted when they are most vulnerable for example when working alone, handling money, taking deliveries or locking up.
Combining this with recent news that crime in England and Wales is rising year on year, against a
Will Murray, Director of Skyguard, was interviewed by Police Oracle magazine – the UK’s largest provider of police news – to discuss how MySOS personal alarms are being used to revolutionise the way police protect vulnerable individuals under their care.
The article discusses how the pocket-sized device has given a vital lifeline to over 6,000 individuals deemed at risk. Currently more than half of the countries’ police forces use MySOS, typically issuing units to victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse and those on witness protection programs.
On activation of the device’s SOS button, users are able to speak to a trained Controller who can provide assistance and contact the emergency services utilising a unique reference number which allows Skyguard faster police response than the 999 system.
Murray commented: “It really gives the victims reassurance and freedom. Police used to install fixed alarms in properties but the victims never had an alarm which they could carry on them. It gives vulnerable people more mobility and they know that if anything happens
The feeling of being watched is something that most of us can relate to experiencing at some point. Thankfully in the majority of cases this is often just down to an overactive imagination, but what if your fears were correct? Worse still, what if you were being followed?
In this frightening scenario, instinct can play a key role. It’s important to trust your senses and keep a calm head to protect yourself and get to safety as quickly as possible. We have produced some advice on how to tell if you are being followed and what you should do.
Stay calm and in control of your fears
If you suspect someone is trailing you either on foot or by vehicle, your first thought may be to panic and speed up to try and lose them. In fact, this could actually make matters worse and put you in more danger, especially if you are driving. Instead slow down and take a deep breath. Note how the person responds, do they adjust their pace to match or hang back?
Last night saw the return of BAFTA winning ITV crime drama Broadchurch, with Skyguard’s MySOS personal alarm being chosen to feature in the series providing support for a rape victim.
In yesterday’s opener viewers were introduced to Trish Winterman (played by Julie Hesmondhalgh) who suffered a brutal assault at the hands of an unknown attacker. As the story unfolds, the show deals with the aftermath of the attack and how this affects Trish’s character, whilst lining up a list of possible suspects.
A difficult subject matter for a primetime show, Police and rape counsellors have praised the program’s makers for tackling the issue. Broadchurch writer Chris Chibnall has said that he wanted to tell this story as the number of sexual offences being reported is on the rise. Hopefully giving this new exposure will result in yet more victims coming forward.
Skyguard work with over half of the UK’s Police forces
Send For Help Group – the world’s largest lone worker protection provider, has been re-elected its two committee memberships of the British Security Industry Association’s (BSIA) Lone Workers Section; one for each of its subsidiary companies. Will Murray, Marketing Director, has been re-elected as representative for Guardian24, and Ben Hawkins, Incident Management Centre Manager, has been re-elected to represent Skyguard.
The BSIA’s constitution dictates that committee member elections are held on an annual basis via secret ballot to all of the Section’s members. A maximum of eight places are available on the influential committee; seven of which have been occupied in the recent election.
The committee’s role is to set the Lone Workers Section strategy and vote on key decisions, on behalf of the wider Section membership. Committee members can also play an important role in the development and revision of industry standards, as part of the British Standards Institution (BSI) review panels. This is the case with the Send for Help Group’s two committee members, who sit on the BSI panel