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A quarter of supermarket staff have experienced abuse during the coronavirus pandemic

Have you witnessed anything?

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Michael Ely / Geograph

A new report has shown that 26% of the staff in UK supermarkets have experienced incidents of abuse from customers during the pandemic.

The report explains that while many of the 500 UK supermarkets surveyed (56%) have not experienced direct abuse, the staff still reported cases of customers behaving aggressively and ‘shouting in frustration’ while shopping. 

The report has been done by Shepper, and its co-founder, Jan Vanhoutte said: “Shop floor supermarket employees have been critical to our society during this challenging time, they are heroes in their own right, working on the frontline despite the risks, to help the nation.”

She continued: ”Whilst it’s upsetting to learn that this abuse is so prevalent, we’re glad to have highlighted the issue so that supermarkets can take action to help their staff further.”

David Clark / Geograph

The Shepper co-founder also hopes that the insights will encourage the wider public to be more mindful of how we treat those who are already doing so much for our country.

The experience of abuse, according to the research, was prevalent across all the retailers surveyed including Asda, Aldi, Morisons, Sainsburys, Tesco and Lidl. 

However, Aldi staff reported the highest percentage of abuse at 35% compared with 26% found in Asda, 21% in Morrisons, 25% in Sainsburys, 25% in Tesco and 28% in Lidl.

“This is an important issue for the industry and one we take extremely seriously,” said an Aldi spokeswoman.

She added: “Over the past few months, our colleagues have worked tirelessly to help feed the nation and we have comprehensive measures in place to protect and support our store teams.”

Eirian Evans / Geograph

The  British Retail Consortium advised retailers to continue working with the police to protect their staff. 

Helen Dickinson, the CEO of BRC said: “Retail staff all across the country have done a heroic job is ensuring we can get the essential items we need. Despite carrying out this crucial job in the most challenging circumstances, hardworking staff are still subject to violence and abuse.

“Any forms of this behaviour will not be tolerated and retailers will continue to work with the police to protect their staff and customers. The BRC is calling for tougher sentences for people who assault retail workers as no one should have to go to work fearing violence or threats.”

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Around 20 people involved in mass brawl ‘with knives’ in Piccadilly Gardens

The violence spilled out into the street

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Magnus D / Flickr

A large group of people were involved in a mass fight ‘with knives’ in Piccadilly Gardens last night.

Around 20 people were caught up in the large brawl on Monday evening, and according to reports some were armed with knives.

The fight took place outside Morrisons on the end of Oldham Street, and happened around 9:30pm.

Witnesses reported seeing some of the suspects carrying knives, although police didn’t recover any from the scene, and busses were forced to stop as the violence spread out onto the road.

Peter McDermott / Geograph

Someone who witnessed the fight said on Twitter: “Piccadilly gardens is the roughest place on earth… a lovely night out helping ruined by a group of young kids kicking each others faces in”.

Officers responded to the incident, but no arrests were made or serious injuries reported.

This incident was the third of serious violence in just a few days.

Saturday afternoon saw another incident outside Morrisons in Piccadilly Gardens, in which a man was slashed in the face.

And on Sunday a brawl involving two tables at Barca bar in Castlefield happened, with some involved arming themselves with weapons like bar furniture and a baseball bat.

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Leading scientists call for end of face masks and social distancing by June

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Leading scientists have written to the UK government calling for social distancing and face masks to be scrapped from June.

In total 22 scientists have signed the communication, saying that these measures should finish on June 22nd – the same date limits on social contact are set to be scrapped in England.

One of the scientists who has added their name to the letter is Dr Roland Salmon, the former director of the communicable disease centre in Wales.

Nickolay Romensky/Flickr

Dr Salmon told BBC Radio Wales: “I am not venting my frustration but I do think some dialogue is well overdue.

“I have always felt that there has been little credible evidence benefit for many of the measures that we take.”

According to him, the letter was written to encourage the government to focus on protecting vulnerable people rather than the masses as we move forward.

Dr Salmon said we need to deal with the ‘here and now’ when asked about the threat of variants, going on to add that the vaccine has shown it helps prevent severe disease and death.

He added: “We can’t stop living forever while we wait for things to happen”.

Sharon McCutcheon/Unsplash

Scientists who’ve signed the letter include Prof Robert Dingwall from Nottingham Trent University, who sits on the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG). 

There’s also Prof Anthony Brookes, a geneticist and health data scientist at the University of Leicester, and Prof Carl Heneghan, director of the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine at Oxford University.

The letter reads: “We are being told simultaneously that we have successful vaccines and that major restrictions on everyday life must continue indefinitely. Both propositions cannot be true.

“We need to give more weight to the data on the actual success of the vaccines and less to theoretical risks of vaccine escape and/or surge in a largely vaccinated population.”



It continues: “Covid-19 no longer requires exceptional measures of control in everyday life, especially where there have been no evaluations and little credible evidence of benefit.

“Measures to reduce or discourage social interaction are extremely damaging to the mental health of citizens; to the education of children and young people; to people with disabilities; to new entrants to the workforce; and to the spontaneous personal connections from which innovation and enterprise emerge.”

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Boris Johnson is regarded as ‘untrustworthy’ by six out of 10 voters

It follows weeks of allegations against the PM

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No10 / Flickr

According to a new poll Boris Johnson is seen as ‘untrustworthy’ by six out of 10 voters in Britain, with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer seen as more trustworthy.

The poll from Ipsos MORI was shared by the Evening Standard, and comes after weeks of leaks and allegations about sleaze aimed at the prime minister.

The research found that Mr Johnson is trusted by just 35% of voters and deemed untrustworthy by 59%, while Sir Keir is seen as trustworthy by 42% and is untrusted by 41%.

No10 / Flickr

Gideon Skinner, head of political research at Ipsos MORI, said: “On honesty Boris Johnson is clearly trumped by Keir Starmer, so this is an area of potential risk for him. 

“However, his own supporters still trust him, and the public overall have never seen it as one of his strongest attributes … and as previous leaders such as Tony Blair have shown, you don’t have to be ahead on trust to win elections. 

“The key question is whether and if these stories continue and start to change the public’s overall view on him as PM.”

No10 / Flickr

The poll was taken following weeks of reports about murky donations being used to refurbish the prime minister’s flat, as well as disclosures about covert lobbying.

However, it was undertaken before the most recent allegations that Mr Johnson said he’d rather see ‘bodies pile high’ than have another lockdown, so those reports won’t have been taken into consideration by those polled.

Despite all the recent controversy, the prime minister and government’s net satisfaction hasn’t changed much since March, with both Mr Johnson (44 satisfied/50 dissatisfied) and Sir Keir (36/46) having net negative ratings.

Ipsos MORI interviewed 1090 adults across the UK by telephone from April 16th to the 22nd – you can find full details here.

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