Co-op store manager who campaigned to protect staff from abuse honoured
A Co-op store manager from Gidea Park in Essex has been honoured for her work to help protect her colleagues from abuse.
Claire Saunders, 41, was awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the New Year Honours list for her efforts.
Co-op and Usdaw, the union for shop workers, had been working for three years to get greater protection for staff against abusive behaviour.
According to a British Retail Consortium report, 455 incidents of violence and abuse towards retail workers occur in the UK every single day.
In December 2021, the government tabled an amendment to make attacking an individual who is providing a public service a statutory aggravating factor.
It means an offence would be considered more serious by a judge and could result in tougher penalties for anyone found guilty.
Honours from the queen are awarded twice annually in June and at the turn of the year for “meritorious” actions, with around 300 BEMs awarded every year to community volunteers.
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