Last week at the Security Excellence awards, our remote monitoring intelligent CCTV solution won CCTV system of the year. The award was given for Co-op’s industry leading work in creating safer stores for our colleagues.

Unfortunately violent crime in the UK is on the rise. Some suggest this is because of better reporting while others suggest it’s as a result of our changing culture and a significant reduction in police resourcing.

Being a convenience retailer, we’re open for longer hours and our shops are located in all types of communities over the UK, meaning our stores can face a higher risk than most.

Since 2014, we’ve led the way in retail by investing in next generation CCTV systems and by early next year, our award winning solution will be in place in 720 of our highest risk stores. Stores are monitored 24/7 (even when they’re closed) by a central monitoring station which colleagues can talk to and can talk to potential offenders live in-store. The technology has been invaluable in deterring violent incidents and shoplifting, and has even supported successful prosecutions for racial abuse and hate crime.

The industry measures violent incidents per 1000 colleagues, over the last 5yrs we have reduced violent incidents by 40%, during the same period the British Retail Consortium reported an increase of 65%.

Chris Whitfield, Retail and Logistics Director said:

“Just one violent incident is one too many and Talkback tells us that we have more to do to make colleagues feel safe at work against a back drop of a reduction in Police numbers and a significant increase in anti-social behaviour and drug related crime.

“And we’re doing just that. We’re currently trialling colleague headsets which have already proved a success in making our colleagues feel safer and we’re looking at how we can link these in with the monitoring stations where we’ve got them. We’re also looking at how lighting in stores can deter offenders and looking how we can use other technology to protect high risk items like Tobacco and cash movements.

“And through 2018, we’ll be working closely with Usdaw and their industry recognised ‘Freedom from Fear’ campaign.”

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