Violence and crime is about much more than statistics or the impact it has on business, it’s about how it affects people’s lives. That’s why I’m so pleased that the Co-op is campaigning on the issue through our Safer Colleagues, Safer Communities campaign.

We’re working with SmartWater and security fog specialists PROTECT, to roll out a new forensic deterrent across our food stores, starting in cities including Cardiff, Manchester and London.

The fog systems are mainly located close to the entrances of our stores and are really effective in the kiosk areas, which are typically targets of crime. Once it’s activated, a dense fog obscures the intruder’s vision making it increasingly difficult for them to leave the store. More importantly, it covers the criminal in a spray containing SmartWater’s unique forensic signature.

Guaranteed to last at least five years and invisible to the naked eye, this signature spray (seen in the picture above) helps police to track criminals and stolen goods which can then lead to increased convictions.

We hope we never need to use these fog systems. But when we do, rest assured that criminals are aware of SmartWater’s ability to place them at the scene of a crime, and will therefore act as a further deterrent in our fight against crime.

Andrew Needham
Retail Loss and Costs Manager

Join the conversation! 8 Comments

  1. The equipment is designed primarily as a preventative measure to deter organised and opportunist criminals who target our stores for Burglary out of hours when the store is not manned. The system is linked to the intruder alarm system as is activated by an intruder(s) who accesses the kiosk or designated area and triggers the PIR after the intruder alarm has been activated and sounding. The fog is dispersed from the cannon in burst for a few seconds at a time and contains the invisible ink/dye which has a unique ingredient (DNA) that is only used in that devise. Any intruder will be sprayed and contaminated with the ink/dye. The risk of an innocent party being sprayed is very minimum and even more so if the store key holders respond to the alarm call out following the training/guidance given.
    The deterrent is also considered by organised criminals as they know they may be arrested for a other offence not linked to the Burglary and routinely swabbed for this type of ink/dye. If they have any traces found on their person they will be linked to that specific crime location through the DNA found and may be arrested.
    Having the equipment installed may not stop every Burglary but will certainly assist the police in targeting the known offenders and support prosecutions. It also wont stop the Burglaries from taking place but may disperse the crimes to other stores/retailers who do not have this equipment installed.

  2. Hi, thanks for your great questions and concerns on this topic.

    The system is an anti-burglarly deterrent only and therefore it wouldn’t be used in trading hours. The fog is designed to obscure vision to protect our high value stock and operates by using fine particles. Only open food would need to be destroyed but there shouldn’t be any.

  3. Hi,
    What protection is there for innocent bystanders who get covered with this spray and it remains on their clothes and their personal items for 5 years?
    Would the fog not get onto other products in the store and contaminate them?

  4. Fantastic initiative. Would like to know whether their is also good security footage inside and outside our stores which will help identify and provide information to police. i.e. be able to capture car information, shady charcters lurking around and feed this back to police in a timely fashion to stamp out this scourge.

  5. I am not sure how preventing potentially armed attackers from leaving the store would be beneficial to the staff in anyway. I understand it is for hopefully catching them or delaying them to the police eventually arrive. Just seems odd that it is being promoted as helping staff safety. I wouldn’t want to be stuck in a confined space with a desperate criminal. Would you?

  6. I just hope it washes off or some innocent person getting a quick splash during a raid, then goes to the disco under the UV lights and lights up like a criminal.

  7. Question, how is this going to prevent someone from being stabbed or attacked?

  8. It seems like a decent idea – my only concern would be if a potential thief is surrounded by a dense fog that makes it difficult for them to leave, then if they’re wielding a weapon they could start swinging it around haphazardly in frustration, potentially causing a serious injury to either someone working on the tills, or any customers that were waiting to be served.

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