Rising levels of abuse and threats to shop staff – NFRN writes to PM

Rising levels of abuse and threats to shop staff – NFRN writes to PM

Letter to Boris

The NFRN has co-signed a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnston regarding the rising levels of abuse and threats towards shop staff.

NFRN launched its Be Kind, Be Patient campaign to remind shoppers to wear face coverings to protect independent retailers and staff, as coronavirus restrictions tighten.

The Federation of Independent Retailers (NFRN) has created two new posters for its members to display within their stores to encourage customer to continue practising social distancing when in local stores.


The first poster appeals to shoppers to respect those working in shops by being “patient, kind and to wear a mask”, while the second explains why both shop staff and customers should cover up their faces while shopping.

This latest poster campaign is an extension of the NFRN’s successful Shop Local, Shop Little initiative launched earlier this year, reminding customers that local stores could provide all their needs and to shop sensibly.

Shop Local, Shop Little advertisements were seen by millions of people across the UK and Ireland as national newspapers and magazines backed the NFRN’s campaign.

NFRN, knowing that members are finding it difficult to police instore, launched its ‘Be Kind, Be Patient’ campaign on October 6th.

Abuse and threats

“We want customers to be kind, to be patient and, unless exempt, to wear a mask. Some NFRN members have experienced hostility, frustration and even abuse and threats.” said NI president Judith Mercer of Hamilton News on the Cregagh Road.

NFRN has created downloadable posters for members to display. The posters remind customers of government requirements, to wear face coverings and to socially distance.

Downloadable posters

“To date, the Sun and Daily Express have publicised the campaign,” explained Judith. “It follows our Shop Local Shop Little campaign which was launched at the start of the pandemic to encourage shoppers to support neighbourhood stores, to shop sensibly and not panic buy.

“The Shop Local Shop Little campaign received fantastic support in the media, with advertisements reaching millions of readers.

NFRN signed a letter to Boris Johnston asking him to provide effective legal protection for shop workers amid rising levels of abuse and violence. The NFRN, along with other organisations, called on the Chair of the Home Affairs Committee Yvette Cooper to launch an inquiry into retail violence.