Mandurah Police crack down on violence against retail employees

Violence unacceptable: Mandurah Detective Senior Sergeant Troy said police would use the "full force of the law" on these offenders. Photo: Louise Kennerley.
Violence unacceptable: Mandurah Detective Senior Sergeant Troy said police would use the "full force of the law" on these offenders. Photo: Louise Kennerley.

Mandurah Police are cracking down on violence against retail staff after an Aldi and a Woolworths employee were assaulted in the past week while doing their job, with the retail union saying it "has to stop".

Mandurah Detective Senior Sergeant Trevor Troy said an Aldi staff member was assaulted after an offender attempted to steal several items from the Anstruther Road store, about midday, on Saturday.

A man in his early twenties was charged with stealing and assault, and is due to appear in the Mandurah Magistrates Court on March 26. 

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In September 2018, the Mandurah Mail reported on a woman who was fined $1000 after she spat in the face of an Aldi employee from the same store. 

A Woolworths spokeswoman confirmed a staff member was assault at the Mandurah Forum Store, after a customer tried to steal food last week. 

Jonah Tawhiri, 20, has been accused ofholding-up a Mandurah 7Eleven petrol station with a weapon, as part of a crime spree over three weeks in February and March. 

We will throw the book at them.

Mandurah Detective Senior Sergeant Trevor Troy

He has not yet entered a plea and is due to reappear in court in April. 

Madora Bay man Joshua Michael Pym, 23, has not entered a plea after being accused ofstabbing a Lakelands Shopping Centre security guard, and is due to reappear in court tomorrow. 

Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees' Association (SDA) WA secretary Peter O'Keeffe said retail workers should not be expected to carry out the duties of a security guard.

"Abusive and violent behaviour by customers is a serious workplace safety issue that impacts the physical and mental health of retail workers," he said. 

Nobody deserves to go to work and be assaulted doing their job.

Mandurah Police Acting Senior Sergeant Phil Woods

"It's clear that on a daily basis retail workers across the state are being subjected to constant verbal abuse, threats of violence and in some cases, actual physical assault.

"Our message to the public is that this behaviour has got to stop. Copping abuse is not part of the job. No one deserves a serve."

Senior Sergeant Troy said police would use the "full force of the law" on these offenders. 

"We will throw the book at them," he said. 

Copping abuse is not part of the job. No one deserves a serve.

Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees' Association (SDA) WA secretary Peter O'Keeffe

"Retail staff are not there to be assaulted or threatened. We will leave no stone unturned in going after these people."

Mandurah Police Acting Senior Sergeant Phil Woods agreed. 

"Nobody deserves to go to work and be assaulted doing their job," he said. 

A Woolworths spokeswoman said they were providing support and assistance to the staff member who was assaulted. 

"The safety of our team and customers are of critical importance to us and we are supporting the police in their investigations into this incident," she said.

An online survey of more than 6000 retail workers, conducted by the SDA in 2017, found over 85 per cent of respondents have been subjected to verbal abuse from a customer in the last 12 months.