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Fog cannons and forensics: Co-op reveals latest retail security technology

Co-op Food stores are set to introduce new retail security technology designed to deter crime by deploying a dense fog that obscures the vision of would-be thieves.

The fog cannon technology can also leave a mark that helps link criminals and stolen goods back to the scene of a crime, and it will be appearing in Co-op's town and city stores in the coming months.

Stores in South Wales, Greater Manchester and London will be among the first to integrate the new system, which Co-op says works particularly well in the kiosk areas – which it acknowledged can be a target for criminals due to age restrictions on certain products.

Co-op’s move to install this technology comes after it launched its “Safer Colleagues, Safer Communities” campaign, designed to protect its staff at a time of rising retail crime across the UK.

SmartWater and security fog specialists Protect Global are the companies supplying the new security system in the Co-op stores, which once activated creates a fog that obscures an intruder’s vision, and covers the criminal in a spray containing SmartWater’s unique forensic signature which shows up under ultra-violet light.

Invisible to the naked eye, the SmartWater spray can help police with identification of criminals and stolen products. It is guaranteed to last at least five years, and only a very small amount needs to make contact with a suspect or stolen item for it to be identifiable.

Florian Mattinson, managing director of SmartWater Technology, said: “With hundreds of criminal convictions to date and a 100% conviction rate in court, criminals are aware of SmartWater’s ability to place them at the scene of a crime.

“This crime-beating innovation is the result of a joint venture between the market leaders in forensic and fogging technology. Following the successful roll-out of SmartWater to Co-op’s ATM estate, this fog represents a further significant step in retail security in communities, one which combines deterrence, vision-obscuring fog and traceability.”

Andrew Needham, Co-op’s head of retail loss & costs, added: “As a community-based organisation we see the impact of social issues in our stores, and we’re committed to playing our part and working together to do all we can to protect colleagues and make our communities safer.”

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