Retailers forced to get smart in fight against crime - attacks costing the sector over £900 million


Shocking new figures show that attacks on retail workers in the UK are on the rise, with over 42,000 violent incidents recorded in the last year. These attacks are costing retailers a staggering £900 million.

The British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) annual Retail Crime Survey states that the biggest concern for retailers, and their threatened employees, is the increased willingness for career criminals to use violence and brandish weapons when confronted over theft. On top of this, the now common requirement for retail staff to age-check and refuse sales, triggers more violence and threats.

In a bid to combat this problem many large retailers are looking at new ways to help staff feel more valued and secure. Asda recently announced that it is utilising Body Worn Cameras to enhance in-store security, and more large retailers are set to follow suit in the very near future. 

Body Worn Cameras (BWCs) have been proven to help improve the safety of those in public facing roles, whilst producing compelling legal evidence when needed. BWC’s can provide two-fold protection to staff – firstly, members of the public naturally change and moderate their behaviour for the better when they realise they are being recorded, or might be recorded – but importantly those cameras can then be used, when needed, to record evidential quality footage to secure convictions, or to uphold the account of staff in the event of a complaint or incident.

Asda became one of the first major retailers in the UK to use BWCs after a successful trial, which began in 2016. There are now over 900 Edesix VideoBadges being utilised in over 250 Asda sites nationwide, with more growth expected in the near future. As a result of this partnering strategy, which relied on both the innovative nature of Edesix’s technology and communication between all parties, Asda has been able to improve colleague security, diffuse aggressive and volatile situations and reduce valued investigation time, thus reducing costs. Since the deployment, Asda has proven the viability of these cameras by securing numerous convictions relating to theft and violence against staff.

Richie McBride, Managing Director of Edesix, explains: “The increased threat of violence on a daily basis is forcing all retailers to re-think security policies, as quite literally lives are at risk if retail staff are not given more protection. One of the most effective ways to actively deter violent and aggressive behaviour, and protect customer-facing staff, is to equip staff with VideoBadges. BWCs are proven to improve the safety of colleagues in public facing roles and shoppers within the stores, whilst producing compelling evidence when needed.

“VideoBadges act as a confrontation preventer, as it is proven that members of the public are far less aggressive to staff members if they know they are being filmed. The cameras also greatly speed up the handling of incidents, insurance matters and complaints. On top of all this, the cameras are utilised to highlight training requirements, evaluate protocols and improve best work practices.”

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