The Scottish Midland Co-operative Society (Scotmid Co-Op) has begun trialling the use of body-worn video cameras (BWV) across what it described as three “high risk stores” in Scotland.

The co-operative, which has more than 185 Scotmid supermarkets and Lakes & Dales convenience stores across Scotland, Northern Ireland and northern England, said it was making the move in response to increasing levels of crime witnessed at its stores. According to a report by the group, anti-social behaviour and verbal abuse directed towards staff has increased by 38% over the past year.

Staff at stores in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee will be supplied with VT100 body-worn cameras from Motorola Solutions to “aid the management of ‘flashpoint’ situations”. According to Motorola, the cameras feature audit-trails, encryption, configurable retention policies and RFID camera allocation operated by one-push activation.

The trial of the technology in stores follows a rollout of BWV to Scotmid’s Snappy Shopper drivers who deliver goods from 20 of its stores. Scotmid has committed to making further investments in what it describes as “technologies to keep colleagues safer” having recently introduced SmartWater Fog Cannons, Secureshield iCCTV, crime logging platform The Hive and Safe-i video and audio surveillance sys­tems.

Scotmid currently has 40 stores fitted with the Safe-i system, which is remotely monitored 24/7 by specialist conflict resolution operators, and has budgeted for a further 20 to be rolled out during 2022.

Commenting on the proposed ongoing investment, Scotmid head of profit protection Steve Hogarth said “the different technologies we are trialling and the continued investment that the Society makes in projects aimed at protecting our colleagues is incredibly encouraging”.

The move from Scotmid follows a £70m commitment in safety technology from the Co-Operative Group which included the roll-out of BWV in 300 of its stores over the past year.

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Author: Richard Hook