Co-op signs up to ‘safer spaces’ scheme

Co-op has added its stores to the National Business Crime Centre (NBCC) scheme, which aims to offer ‘safe spaces’ for anyone feeling vulnerable on the UK’s streets.

Known as Operation Portum, the scheme focuses on increasing the number of spaces in the retail sector where people are always welcome and can safely seek support.

Co-op has around 2,400 stores, bringing the total number of locations signed up to the scheme to over 13,000.

Co-op said that the Safe Spaces scheme provides a framework offering a “consistent and appropriate” way of supporting anyone seeking help in store.

This includes allowing the person seeking help to wait safely until support arrives in an area covered by CCTV, the use of a phone to contact emergency services, a friend or relative, and the reassurance that anyone seeking refuge is believed and not judged.

“Co-op is committed to operating at the heart of local life and, nothing is more important to us than the safety of our colleagues, member-owners, customers and communities,” said Kare McCrae Graham, Co-op operations director. “Anyone seeking a safe haven in their local Co-op will always be welcomed, encouraged to report their concerns and, above all, believed - as a convenience retailer, our doors are open from early morning until late into the night, and we want people to know that Co-op is always a welcome light and safe haven for anyone who feels unsafe or in need of support.”

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