Bassett Retail Limited has embraced technology in an effort to strengthen security measures and prevent shoplifting incidents. 

Dave Hiscutt, head of operations for Bassett Retail which runs stores in the south west of the country, recently implemented FaceWatch and StaffSafe Limited into three of its sites and has already labelled the move as the “biggest success’’.

The initiative follows a rise in crime trends and several incidents involving the safety of its employees. 

In June, FaceWatch was installed at the Westham Road Londis site in Weymouth. The system is an artificial intelligence camera that loads images of people suspected of theft into a database, which can then send alerts to stores if they return.

Within the first month, 41 incidents were recorded in the FaceWatch database involving anti-social behaviour, shop thefts and threatening attitudes towards staff. 

Danielle Wright, operations manager for FaceWatch outlined how the technology works. “FaceWatch stands as the foremost authority in facial recognition technology for retail security in the United Kingdom. Our cutting-edge cloud-based facial recognition system is meticulously designed to shield businesses from criminal activities, fostering a secure atmosphere for both customers and staff. With our system in place, businesses receive immediate alerts as soon as a subject of interest enters their premises.

“In the initial 12 months of implementation, our system has been proven to slash crime by an impressive margin, typically ranging from 35% to 50%. This tangible impact underscores the effectiveness of our solution in making businesses safer and more secure for everyone involved.”

Wright explained that FaceWatch is the only company in the UK that has a legitimate purpose for using people’s information for the detection and prevention of crime, as confirmed by the Information Commissioner’s Office which was a major factor in the business deciding on this technology.

david hiscutt

Dave Hiscutt has an online portal through StaffSafe that shows him how many times the automated buttons have been used. 

Dave explained to Convenience Store how the technology has helped. “As the month went on and all these people were being reported into FaceWatch, the faces end up on our watch list because these people are banned, and we get more and more alerts when these people come in and we can then intercept them before they become a problem.

“Our biggest focus is to reduce the amount of conflict the staff are having to deal with because that is by far our biggest challenge, and we have had far too many violent incidents.”

Following the news that the Westham Road site reported 17 incidents to FaceWatch in July, less than half the amount from the month before, the retailer took the decision to have it installed in its Weymouth and Southampton stores in August. 

As well as the FaceWatch technology, the team installed StaffSafe Limited which provides an audible interface that encourages employees to take swift action when a potential security arises. At the till and CCTV stations, staff members have a keypad featuring five buttons, each serving specific purposes.

Three of the buttons are programmed to activate pre-recorded messages that serve as deterrents to potential shop thieves and the other two will trigger live monitoring. 

Staff at the sites are encouraged to press the button if they think someone appears suspicious, and the pre-recorded message hope to deter suspicious individuals rather than approaching them.  

Dave also explained that StaffSafe integrates through the investment of Quail Digital headsets, which means that Staffsafe operators can provide clear guidance and provide support to staff when there is a suspected person causing trouble in store.

He said: “Compared to where we were when we were having members of staff hustling with customers, trying to deter thefts, we are now in a much better space and it certainly added to our staff attention and the morale of the stores because staff now feel that someone has got their back and they’ve always got that little guardian angel up there’.”