The UK’s biggest grocery chain is offering body cameras to staff as it seeks to fight the ‘scourge on society’ of retail crime and abuse to staff – DIGIWIZ CENTRAL

The UK’s biggest grocery chain is offering body cameras to staff as it seeks to fight the ‘scourge on society’ of retail crime and abuse to staff

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Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images

Tesco is giving all its frontline staff the chance to wear body cameras, The Mail on Sunday reported.Physical assaults on its staff have increased by a third since last year, the publication reported.Retail crime, including both theft and abuse of workers, is soaring in both the UK and US.

Tesco, the UK’s biggest grocery chain, is giving all its frontline staff the chance to wear body cameras in a bid to deter crime and assault on workers, as first reported in The Mail on Sunday.

Physical assaults on Tesco staff have increased by a third since last year, and more than 200 workers are victims of “serious physical assaults” each month, the publication reported.

“Crime is a scourge on society, and an insult to shoppers and retail workers,” Tesco CEO Ken Murphy wrote in an opinion piece for The Mail on Sunday. “It is time we put an end to it.”

He said that though only a small number of customers are verbally and physically abusive towards staff, they have a “disproportionate impact.”

“For these colleagues, their families, and all of us who know someone who works in retail, it’s heartbreaking,” Murphy continued.

Over the past four years, Tesco has invested £44 million (about $55.6 million) on security measures including door access systems, protection screens, and digital radios, Murphy said. But he emphasized that other changes were needed to deter criminals in the first place, including better cooperation between police and businesses. He also demanded changes in the law, such as making abuse and violence towards retail workers a specific offence in itself.

Other British grocery chains, including Sainsbury’s, the Co-op, and Waitrose, have also offered body cameras to staff. Waitrose has begun offering uniformed officers free hot drinks in an attempt to deter shoplifters, and sister company John Lewis lets uniformed officers use its staff seating areas and bathrooms as well as its subsidized staff canteens.

Insider has approached Tesco for comment on how many members of frontline staff it has and how much it expects to spend on the body cameras. As of February, Tesco had close to 2,800 stores in the UK and Ireland in a variety of sizes.

British retailers collectively recorded more than 850 incidents of violence and abuse against workers a day on average in the year to March 31, 2022, which included racial and sexual abuse, physical assault, and threats with weapons, a survey by the British Retail Consortium found.

The BRC said that though this was slightly down on the previous year’s figures, it was almost double the pre-pandemic rate, and it said that a big dip in the proportion of incidents reported to police was “largely due to lack of confidence in any police response.”

During that 12-month period, more than 90% of the money British retailers lost to crime was from customer theft, at £953 million ($1.2 billion), with the rest of the crime losses attributable to employee theft, robbery, burglary, online fraud, and damage. The retailers collectively spent around £722 million ($912 million) on crime prevention, the BRC’s survey found.

Retail crime is also soaring in the US, prompting retailers like Walgreens, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, and Target to look for new ways to deter thefts.

Are you a retail worker who has noticed an uptick in crime in your store recently? Contact this reporter at [email protected].

Read the original article on Business Insider
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