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Police and Crime Commissioners support PDA’s campaign to stop violence in pharmacies

In addition to members of the Company Chemists Association agreeing to adopt policies of zero tolerance to violence in pharmacies, the PDA’s campaign is getting welcome support from the law enforcement community.

Sat 25th April 2020 The PDA

The longstanding PDA campaign to stop violence in pharmacies is receiving increasing support from the politicians responsible for the England and Wales police forces and also from community safety groups.

In addition to members of the Company Chemists Association agreeing to adopt policies of zero tolerance to violence in pharmacies, the PDA’s campaign is getting welcome support from the law enforcement community.

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) define violence as Any incident in which a person is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances related to their work and the PDA policy calls for five key measures to be in place:

  1. A zero tolerance policy for violence towards staff working in a pharmacy, including verbal, sectarian or racist abuse directed towards pharmacists and pharmacy staff.
  2. A requirement for every pharmacy owner to undertake a risk assessment at individual premises level and publish a clearly-defined statement on the risk of violence.
  3. Measures appropriate to the situation, as identified by a risk assessment, are implemented to reduce the risks of violence.
  4. Funding for security measures from the government to assist pharmacy contractors with their implementation.
  5. Regulatory standards which place more robust requirements on pharmacy owners, superintendents, chief pharmacists and managers to ensure the safety of staff.

Point 1 above will only be delivered once we see employers promoting and enforcing zero tolerance of violence. We welcome the CCA members committing to deliver that in full and look forward to seeing it operate in practice and the same applies to other employers. Points 2 & 3 include pharmacies implementing risk mitigation which may include working with their local police force to identify and reduce any factors that could make violence more likely and introduce measures that reduce the risk of violence. We also want to work with contractors to lobby national governments for the funding described in point 4.

In the meantime, we very grateful to the police community for their support of our campaign. Examples of messages of support include:

The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson, who said:

“… the protection for key services during the crisis, such as health and retail is paramount. This includes pharmacists who are a vital frontline service. I have made it absolutely clear that those people who intimidate or target health or retail staff should be dealt with robustly and they will be.”

Jeff Cuthbert, Gwent Police and Crime Commissioner who said:

“I have fed my concerns back to the Chief Constable of Gwent Police and asked that neighbourhood policing teams make visits to local pharmacies as part of their daily patrols. No one should have to put up with abuse and threatening behaviour in the line of their professional duty. We are all in this together and the situation is unlikely to change for many weeks. Please show tolerance, patience and understanding when visiting your local pharmacy.”

Mark Burns-Williamson, the Police & Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire said in his statement

“Pharmacy staff are key workers and along with other healthcare professionals are under real pressure during these unprecedented times. I know the vast majority of our communities are well aware and supportive, as demonstrated through the amazing responses to the ‘Clap for our Carers’ initiative. However, I would urge everyone to be patient and respect the staff in pharmacies who are working hard to support their communities and patients during this time. They are putting their own lives at risk, as well as their families to ensure communities have vital medical supplies.

Understandably, tensions and anxiety can run high during this pandemic; however, we must all be tolerant and come together as a community to help support these frontline staff and our local Neighbourhood Policing Teams (NPTs) will be out and about to assist wherever required.”

Kent’s Police & Crime Commissioner, Matthew Scott issued a statement saying:

“I take the issue of violence in any workplace extremely seriously and was a supporter of the need for improved legislation to protect those who protect and serve the community. I condemn anyone who, especially at this difficult time, chooses to attack key workers. I have been reassured by the force that it will always ensure that where appropriate, legislation is used to prosecute offenders. In addition, I am aware that police patrols are visiting pharmacies to offer reassurance to both the public and the staff.”

In Northern Ireland, Policing and Community Safety Partnerships have also been sharing the PDA campaign message, for example, the Belfast PCSP said:

“Community pharmacists are at the front-line in providing NHS services to the public but sadly the COVID crisis has seen the incidents of abuse against staff rise significantly. This behaviour is unacceptable under all circumstances. Please support The Pharmacists’ Defence Association’s campaign #ENDviolenceinpharmacy.”

The above are just some examples of many statements of support.  If there has not yet been a similar statement from your local police and crime commissioner or community safety partnership, please send them this article and ask them to add their support to the campaign. We must all work together to bring an end to violence in pharmacies.


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