Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa is appealing for people to act with kindness and respect in community pharmacies following reports of violence and abuse against staff during Covid-19.
The PCC is supporting a campaign by the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) to protect frontline pharmacy staff amid a growing wave of incidents during the pandemic.
Community pharmacists have seen demand increase significantly since the Covid-19 outbreak which is inevitably impacting on services and provision. This has sparked an influx of incidents of abuse and threats against staff.
The PDA has written to Home Secretary Priti Patel calling for government support to raise the issue and take measures to protect pharmacists and their teams from violence. It has also enlisted the support of PCCs to raise awareness of the repercussions of breaking new laws protecting key emergency workers.
Mr Dhindsa said: “Our community pharmacies are doing a fantastic job during what is an unprecedented and challenging time. As key workers, pharmacy employees are putting themselves and their families at risk during this pandemic to help others and deserve respect and appreciation for their services.
“The safety of frontline workers is paramount and our officers will take action against those who think it is acceptable to take their tension and anxiety out on hardworking staff. Aggression or abuse of any kind will not be tolerated and we will use the full power of the law to apprehend perpetrators.
“Pharmacies are providing an essential service and we must all be mindful of the significant pressure their teams are facing by practising patience and kindness. Violence or abuse should never be accepted as part of any job.”
Pharmacy workers are protected under the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act 2018. Those breaking the law face tough penalties including a maximum of 12 months’ imprisonment.
The PDA has developed a new resource pack to help pharmacists protect staff which is available at: https://www.the-pda.org/pda-increase-action-on-campaign-to-end-violence-in-pharmacies/