South Scotland MSP Craig Hoy has backed a campaign for shoppers in Midlothian to #SayThanks to retail workers as a new law giving them greater legal protection comes into force.
Craig paid a special thank-you to shop staff as part of a campaign to tackle crime and encourage greater respect for retailers.
He visited Scotmid in Newtongrange to show support for a drive by the Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF) urging everyone to #SayThanks the next time they are in their local convenience store.
Mr Hoy met with Regional Business Manager Frank McCarron, Head of Profit and Protection Steve Hogarth and local store managers Sharon Gooddall and Jen Renton to discuss the experience of retailers during the covid pandemic.
People are being urged to show their gratitude for all that shop workers have done for them and their community - particularly during the Covid pandemic - after a new law came into force.
The Protection of Workers Act gives stronger protection to retail staff across Scotland who suffer threats, abuse or assaults and has been widely welcomed across the sector.
SGF is highlighting the new measures through it’s Don’t Put Up With It Campaign, urging retailers to report every crime they witness in their shops, as well as urging customers to thank the people who serve them.
Commenting on the visit, Craig said: “It was a pleasure to catch-up with the Scotmid team in Newtongrange and discuss some of the opportunities and challenges which the covid pandemic has presented for the sector.
“Since the introduction of lockdown restrictions last year, retail workers have been on hand to support our communities as key workers.
“It is deeply concerning that there has been a significant rise in crime, abuse and assault against retail workers in Midlothian and elsewhere in Scotland.
“That’s why I’m supporting the #SayThanks campaign and encouraging everyone to show gratitude to retail staff who have been working tirelessly over the past year and a half to keep supply chains running smoothly and food on the table.”
The Don’t Put Up With It campaign is being made possible as part of a £50,000 package from the Scottish Government to tackle retail crime. SGF is working with the charity Crimestoppers, its youth programme Fearless and Police Scotland to spread the message.
SGF Chief Executive Dr Pete Cheema said: “The simple act of saying thanks can make a remarkable difference to a retail worker’s day.
“Local convenience stores really stepped up to the plate during Covid, making immediate alterations to their stores to keep them open, make them Covid-safe, and service the local communities who needed them the most.
“So, the next time you pop around the corner for some essential supplies, #SayThanks. If you’re grateful that your local store is there; if you’re grateful they’ve been there during the pandemic; if you want them to stay there as long as you are, #SayThanks.
“And, if you do witness a crime in a shop, please support your local retailer by sharing information and help bring those responsible to justice.”
To find out more about the campaign and find out how you can show your support, go to www.dontputupwithit.scot. Follow #DontPutUpWithIt and #SayThanks on social media.
Details about crimes should be reported to Police Scotland on 101. Call 999 in an emergency. Information about those responsible for offences can also be passed anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.