Central Co-op Body Cams

After trialling bodycams in stores for the first time in 2021, Central Co-op is reinforcing its commitment to colleague safety and security as the clocks change in the UK and nights get darker. This comes at the start of Respect for Shopworkers Week 2022, an initiative started by the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW) to protect retail workers from violence and abuse.

Figures from the first six months of 2022 show significant drops in verbal abuse and threats compared to the previous year, and the bodycams work to deter would-be criminals alongside surveillance of volatile incidents.

This summer Central Co-op extended bodycams to a further 38 stores after an initial rollout of 50 stores, and continues to listen to staff regarding their safety and security at work. The group has also introduced centrally-monitored CCTV that can be activated at the touch of a button and an increased number of security guards.

Central Co-op has been a vocal supporter of a change in the legal penalties for assaulting shop workers, including new legislation in which abuse against individuals who serve the public has become an aggravated offence.

“All of our colleagues have actually felt a lot safer since the introduction of bodycams,” said store manager Gillian Evans, who participated in the original trial. “We now have peace of mind that aggressive behaviour can be recorded and handed to authorities if necessary, but we’ve also noticed that their presence defuses situations where tensions may escalate.”

“The training has been incredibly effective and the cameras themselves are easy to use and operate. We even find colleagues requesting them proactively when they’re working, so they’ve really been a useful investment all round. It’s hard to imagine working without them now, and although the vast majority of our shoppers are respectful and law-abiding, these body cameras serve as a deterrent and added security when required.”