By Sarah Ramsey – Head of Portfolio, Food and Group

We care about our all our colleagues’ safety. Our stores and our amazing store colleagues face unique challenges with safety on a daily basis.

We continue to raise awareness of the violence and abuse our colleagues face every day through our Safer Colleagues, Safer Communities campaign. We want to send a clear message that violence and abuse is not part of the job.

We’re also committed to investing in our stores to make our colleagues feel safer. We got the support of our council and members when they voted in favour of continuing to invest £70m over three years, matching the £70m we’d invested already. We’re making sure we use every penny of that wisely, targeting the stores that need it the most.

Here’s what we’re doing over the next few months:

Over 600 more stores will get product protection equipment

622 more stores will get Co-op exclusive equipment to protect high-value products like bottled alcohol and meat and those who already have the equipment will get more.

300 more stores will get body cameras

On top of the 250 stores that already have them, we’ll install 300 more stores with body worn cameras. These cameras can be used when a colleague feels threatened by aggressive or violent behaviour. With one simple push of a button, the camera will instantly record the situation and stream live to our security monitoring centre.

All our Assisted Serve Tills (ASTs) will be fitted with security cameras

Our data and research shows that shoplifting is a key trigger for violence and abuse against our colleagues. We’ll install all ASTs with security screens. Customers will see themselves in the screens whilst scanning their shopping with the aim of stopping any opportunistic thefts.

We’ll invest in 50 more safety focus stores

45% of crime is reported from our 100 most challenging stores. We’ll focus on giving these stores more support with things like shutters, special glazing on doors and windows, intelligent CCTV, improved intruder detection and everything else mentioned above. We’ll also help the colleagues in these stores develop their skills in how to deal with the specific challenges in their shops.

We’ll complete the roll out of SmartCash

SmartCash transforms how we manage cash in store, automating and simplifying all of our cash handling processes. Not only will it be quicker and easier, it’ll also reduce the amount of cash colleagues are handling, reducing risk and improving safety for everyone. On top of that, we can track our cash more effectively, helping to minimise cash loss.


Working with our security suppliers Mitie and local police forces, we’re trialling new ways to target repeat offenders and how we can simplify reporting.

Talk to your store manager this month for more information on what we’re doing to continue caring for our colleagues’ safety and wellbeing.

Join the conversation! 22 Comments

  1. we had a visit from the CEO himself and a couple of other high up mangers or whatever for the company, I explained how our safety is not in anyway whatsoever guaranteed, the body cams is not gunna fix the issue, we have violent, horrible and nasty people come into our shop every single day and night to rob us blind, threatening us, or just to shout and abuse us, we have no doorman, and we are not security guards, the panic buttons don’t work (not even in other co op stores), my job is not to protect and serve, my job is to come to work as a CTM and go home, nothing more. nothing has changed and its getting worse and worse as days go by. I hate working for the co op because I feel that its a losing battle and no one is ever gunna help us. sort it out co op. don’t worry everyone else feeling the same way, we still have each other even if the top dogs don’t have our back, its what we do.

  2. The masked thugs that walk out of my store with 1000s of pounds worth of stock every week don’t seem to be much phased by the cameras, but hey, at least you can tell the press you’re “doing something”

  3. Hi I had customers making complains about the security guard at our store for not wearing any face covering. we want to keep our customers safe.

    • Hi – some people are exempt from wearing a face covering for medical reasons, but if you’re concerned you can talk to your manager who’ll follow it up with our security supplier.

  4. please could you invest some hours in your stores so that we can trade safely and not put our staff and customers at risk as hours are so tight and staff are stressed

  5. Body cameras?
    What have we become as a society and a company eh?
    It’s a bit like locking the door after the horse has bolted isn’t it?
    When you’re working “1 on 1” on a Thursday night at about 9 o’clock at night I personally wouldn’t feel any safer and in fact find this very patronising.
    Employ a few more staff. Yes, it costs money which will probably have to be passed onto the customer. (perhaps look at other areas of the business where costs can be cut, now there’s an idea?). Don’t try and kid anyone that you have our best interests at heart. It doesn’t wash anymore.
    When it really comes down to the health v wealth argument, cash wins every time.

    • Hi – sorry you feel that way, we’ve had some great feedback from colleagues that have had these installed.

    • I wholeheartedly concur. We have bodycams in store and they do absolutely nothing. Some of the hardest hit stores on my area have lost their guards – I’ve never been so lucky as to have one. When you’re running 1on1 regularly (at this point I only ever had 3 bodies on a late for a national delivery- every other day is 1on1) you’re simply an easy target. There’s also the added frustration of running 1on1 such as sickness potentially leading to not being able to trade (or more apt the SM having to work for free to keep the store open, as is the culture).

      I digress, while bodycams are significantly cheaper long-term than hiring more guards / increasing store labour, and they do look good for the press, they actually do close to nothing. The business needs to stop worrying about optics and press spin and actually invest in stores.

  6. The body cams sound good, but I am concerned about having to press a button in order to get them recording. If the customers are savvy this will be the same as having to get your hand to your ear in order to call on the headset: you will be prevented from doing so. Is there no better/more subtle way of getting help?

  7. Great to see this investment and keeping out people safe with the body cameras.

    Will these be considered for funeral home colleagues too who often work in isolation and in future will be going back into peoples homes?


  8. What a good idea and good to see that all our teams will hopefully be able to feel safer when coming to work.

  9. A security guard is needed in our shop, as the amount of shop lifting happens mostly after six at night till closeing at ten. Just walking past staff with baskets full of spirits knowing we can’t do anything about the situation. Abuse is quite rife as welll upsetting to say the least, yet again can’t do much about it as apparently customers always right. An undercover boss would be helpful to see what we have to put up with on a regular basis. Apart from all of this I love my job and ungrateful abusive customers will not drive me to leave.

    • Hi – Please make sure you’re reporting each crime on MySafety and with the police if necessary and you can contact your local risk officer for any further support.

  10. Where does coop sit following tesoc’s sacking of a manager and losing their job for use of reasonable force as per 3(1) criminal justice act 1967, criminal justice act 2008, common law and the use of reasonable force and sections 44 and 100 of the employment act rights to down tools and leave for a safe place or use of force to defend self?

  11. Can you please tell me how to unsubscribe from lifeworks

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