The owner of a Moray security firm has spoken out about the risks faced by his staff after one of his employees was reportedly “coughed at” by a teen claiming to have coronavirus.
Saltaire Security has been supplying guards to locations including supermarkets in recent weeks to support efforts to enforce social distancing.
Owner Steve Robertson says the jobs have involved staff dealing with “volatile situations” and dealing with “verbal abuse”.
This week, one employee working at the Morrisons supermarket in Inverness was allegedly “coughed at” by a man attempting to steal a bottle of alcohol from the store.
Yesterday police confirmed an 18-year-old man has been charged with theft and acting in a threatening or abusive manner following Monday’s alleged incident.
He will appear at Inverness Sheriff Court at a later date.
Meanwhile, it has also been revealed that security guards have among the highest risk of contracting and dying from Covid-19.
Mr Robertson said he was “furious” at the dangers his staff are having to face from shoppers not prepared to follow guidelines implemented to halt the spread of the virus.
He said: “You would think that being many weeks in people would understand the rules by now, but I’m sorry to say people are just not adhering to the advice and my staff are constantly having to remind people.
“This is often leading to verbal abuse and people just ignoring or flouting the rules.
“It is making what should be a job keeping people safe and reassured into one that is dangerous for both my staff and other law-abiding members of the public.
“Thankfully, most people are respectful, but there are those who don’t care one little bit.”
Figures released by the Office for National Statistics this week revealed that men working as security guards were among the most at risk of dying from coronavirus, with 45.7 deaths per 100,000.
The rate for all males between 20 and 64 years old is 9.9 deaths, while it is 5.2 deaths for females.
Fochabers-based Saltaire Security currently has 16 full-time members of staff.
However, that total can regularly increase to about 50 during the normal summer event season, which has been decimated this year due to the pandemic.
Mr Robertson added: “We are one of the sectors that has been less affected by this worldwide situation, although we have lost all our event work, which is a huge part of the business for us.
“We are proud that we are able to step in and support supermarkets and other businesses who are dealing with this unprecedented situation right now and that we are always able to do so in a professional manner.”