Dee Sedani has invested heavily in security measures at his stores in Derbyshire and Staffordshire, including hi-tech CCTV, automated safety announcements, and StaffSafe panic button wristbands that can alert a call centre in Scotland to offer assistance to staff members in need of help.
But when he offered staff the option of wearing a bodycam, One Stop Etwall store manager Abbie Saville didn’t have to think twice.
“Customers can see that everything is being recorded, so I do feel that a camera on you could reduce abuse because they can see it,” she says.
Back in 2017, the store was attacked by robbers and Abbie was tied up while the criminals made their getaway. After what was an extremely traumatic experience, she bravely returned to her role.
However, she claims that even the day-to-day dealings of a shopworker can mean facing the risk of abuse and violence head on. “People think working in retail is just working in the shop,” she says. “I don’t think they realise how much confrontation you can face, especially at night time, especially on the weekend when people are out drinking. People come in absolutely intoxicated and when we refuse to serve them, they can become aggressive.
“I don’t think the police take it seriously. They just think ‘you work in a shop and you’ve got to deal with it’ basically.”
She also claims that having to confront shoplifters can be high risk for retail staff members. “On one occasion, one of my team was serving a man and he did a ‘grab and go’ where she put stuff on the till and he grabbed it,” she says. The man was friendly before the incident, but quickly became angry. “He smashed a bottle of wine in front of her and she was very shaken up,” says Abbie. “Obviously we rang the police, but I don’t think they did anything. It needs to be taken more seriously.”
She claims that shopworkers shouldn’t have to feel they are taking risks, simply by doing their jobs. “We come to work to pay our bills, look after our families,” she says. “The police need to come down harder on abuse against shopworkers.”