OFFICERS patrolled Lismore’s Coles and Woolworths stores between 7am and 8am today.
OFFICERS patrolled Lismore’s Coles and Woolworths stores between 7am and 8am today. Arthur Gorrie

Police patrol supermarkets to protect elderly shoppers

POLICE were on patrol as supermarkets opened for a special shopping sessions on Tuesday morning to allow the most vulnerable in the community opportunity to buy essential items.

Richmond Police District Inspector David Vandergriend said officers had been well received by people shopping as well as retail staff.

He said shoppers had behaved well and police had not needed to intervene.

"We moved between Coles and Woolworths supermarkets today between 7am and 8am and many elderly shoppers said it was great to see us there," he said.

"Part of our tasking today is to have a presence to reassure the community and address any breaches of the peace and restore public confidence.

"People shopping and supermarket staff said they were happy to see us there."

Insp Vandergriend said it was critical that during tough times people showed empathy and calm.

"We all need to come together as a community and do the right thing by each other," he said.

"There is no need to panic buy, be anxious or rude to staff at supermarkets who have any role to play as being able to obtain more stock to put on the shelves.

"Everyone needs to compose themselves and only buy what they need to allow other items for everyone who needs them."

Insp Vandergriend said there was no risk of supermarkets not being able to get in more stock.
"There's no need for panic buying," he said.

"This is the first day of the first early shopping hours to cater for the vulnerable, the elderly and disabled and we will endeavour to have as much of a presence and at random times during the day today to address community concerns."