A Hull pharmacist has told Pharmacy Network News they are considering hiring a security guard due to pharmacy staff being subjected to intimidation and antisocial behaviour over a period of months.
A pharmacist working at ER Pharmacy in Bransholme said a gang of local young people – sometimes as many as 30 – has been targeting the pharmacy and the two businesses adjoining it on a small retail plot for six months.
The children, some as young as 11, have allegedly lit fires outside the pharmacy on a regular basis, as well as assaulting staff and breaking into vans belonging to the pharmacy.
Much of the alleged abuse appears to be racially motivated, the Hull Daily Mail has reported, with both staff and patients at the pharmacy targeted with racial slurs.
This aggressive behaviour has stopped patients from coming to the pharmacy and made it difficult to recruit staff such as pharmacists, the pharmacist told PNN.
“If you’ve got 30 kids outside banging on your window and there’s only one member of staff working with the pharmacist then it’s not safe because we’ve got all the controlled drugs on the premises,” they said.
The 100-hour pharmacy has been in talks with the police, the local LPC and the NHS on the matter. The local NHS England regional team has said the pharmacy can shut early on the basis that staff safety is at risk “but that has a knock-on effect on trade – then you can’t operate and serve the public during emergency out of hours,” the pharmacist told PNN.
They added: “Today I’ve had a security firm offer their services, but I have to pay for it.
“It’s something I’m looking to do– pay for a security guard to cover the area from Monday to Sunday because they can liaise with the police directly – but it comes at a cost, I shouldn’t have to pay for that.
“The safety of the staff is the main concern, and obviously trying to keep the business afloat in these tough times.
“You just want to be open and serve the public. I want to make sure my staff are safe and I need to make sure that the pharmacists that work here feel safe and that’s all we’re asking for.”
Humberside Police has said it is taking “robust action” on anti-social behaviour in the area, with the Hull Daily Mail reporting neighbourhood inspector Mark Peasgood as saying: “Any incident where youths are trying to intimidate people going about their normal business are completely unacceptable and will be dealt with.
"There are officers in uniform and plain clothes in and around the area taking positive action such as arresting and banning people from the area.
“We have worked closely with other agencies on ways to engage, divert and deal positively with young people who are involved in causing these issues.”
However, the pharmacist told PNN: “[The police] aren’t doing anything because most of the kids are under the age that they can be arrested.
“No one’s going to do anything – we’ll just deal with it ourselves.”