Co-op stores continue roll-out of body-worn security cameras

Another Co-op Food store deployed body-worn security cameras over the weekend, as part of the retailer’s drive to cut down shop crime and protect its workers.

The Great Linford store in Milton Keynes equipped its staff with the Edesix cameras for the first time late last week, with employees encouraged to switch them on if they believe an incident of crime or unsocial behaviour is unfolding.

In the event of signs of trouble, staff have been trained to inform perpetrators they will be filmed. This process is primarily viewed by Co-op as a deterrent to crime.

Essential Retail understands Great Linford staff were not prompted to use the cameras this weekend, but staff there are concerned about rising levels of crime and antisocial behaviour on site. Not all Co-op stores will deploy the cameras, but the retailer will place them in shops where it believes they are most needed, and it expects they will be used in 250 stores by the end of this month.

Commenting on Twitter, store manager of the Great Linford store, Harvey Rainbow, said: “Body worn camera trial at Great Linford, love that they already make the team feel safer and simple and easy to use #itsnotpartofthejob.”

The hashtag is deployed by Co-op staff to highlight issues of antisocial behaviour store staff face throughout the year.

Indeed, at the end of June, The Co-op challenged “government inertia” in relation to providing retail store staff with more protection against criminals. The retailer said shop workers have been spat at and threatened with being ‘given coronavirus’ as part of a growing trend of violence in supermarket aisles.

The convenience chain said crime in its stores has increased by more than 140% this year, with the number of violent incidents reaching 1,350 by the middle of June.

As part of its ‘Safer Colleagues, Safer Communities’ campaign, Co-op is looking to build awareness and support for MP Alex Norris’ Assault on Shop Workers Bill which has seen its second reading in Parliament postponed. It calls for greater staff protection.

Co-op, which counts facilities management organisation Mitie as one of its security partners, said in June it has committed a further £70 million over the next three years towards innovative technology to keep its staff safer. This drive includes the body cameras and communication headsets, which are both linked up to remotely monitored iCCTV to help speed up the response of security partners when crimes unfold.

The retailer has also deployed SmartWater Fog Cannons in some stores. Once the technology is triggered it can leave a mark that helps link criminals and stolen goods back to the scene of a crime.