HAMPSHIRE'S police and crime commissioner is calling on shoppers to be kind to shop workers this Christmas in support of a national campaign.

Donna Jones is asking people to consider their behaviour and be kind to shop workers this Christmas in support of the national #ShopKind campaign launched by the Association of Convenience Stores on Monday, November 22.

The aim of the #ShopKind campaign is to encourage positive behaviour in shops and to highlight the scale and impact of violence and abuse against shop workers.

Donna Jones said: "Fear of being hurt whilst at work is not acceptable. Retail staff should not fear for their safety and I encourage everyone to consider this when out shopping in the run up to Christmas.

"Many of these staff have worked throughout the pandemic to keep shops open and will be continuing to work incredibly hard during the festive period to assist customers. They deserve to be treated with respect, not abused or harassed for doing their job.

"A few kind words can often go a long way."

Four hundred and fifty five violent or abusive incidents against shop workers are recorded each day across the UK according to a recent survey, and 89 per cent of people working in local shops have experienced some form of abuse.

Cllr Spiros Vassiliou, cabinet member for communities, culture and heritage said: "Abusive behaviour towards shopworkers is not acceptable at any time of the year.

"With many shops and retailers providing an essential service throughout the pandemic, we fully support the #ShopKind campaign and encourage people to be kind to festive frontline workers this Christmas and continue to, all year through."

Giles Semper, executive director of GO! Southampton, says the BID is "delighted" that Donna Jones has highlighted this issue.

He said: "We raised it with her back in May ahead of the PCC elections, and she pledged to include it in her draft Police and Crime Plan, which she has done.

"It is simply intolerable how badly retail staff are being treated nationally and sadly Southampton has not proved an exception to the rule. The pandemic seems to have accelerated a very worrying trend where some customers feel that they can treat retail staff with utter contempt and often with violence.

"It’s important to remember that the workers in essential and much of non-essential retail have been key workers during the pandemic and have kept this country going.

"Many of them work unsocial hours and their wages are not always the highest. Why should they go to work fearful of how they might be treated by their own customers?

"We plan to get right behind #Shopkind. At the same time we urge the people of Southampton to report incidents to the police when they see them and to turn the tide on this regrettable issue."