A Year of Bodycams - Central Co-op Reinforces Commitment to Colleague Safety
Posted by sam bishop | Published: 15/11/2022
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. This includes the introduction of 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,” commented 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.”
About Central Co-op
Central Co-op is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK, with a heritage stretching back over 175 years and interests in food, funeral, floral and property investment.
Owned by hundreds of thousands of members, its 7,700 colleagues serve customers across 440 plus trading sites in 19 counties in the East and West Midlands, Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire.
Its purpose is to create a sustainable Society for all.
It actively campaigns for food justice and works with FareShare Midlands and a network of local food banks. It also adds £1 to every Healthy Start Voucher redeemed in store and supports six schools in partnership with Magic Breakfasts.
The Society embraces inclusivity and equality and is a signed-up member to the Business in the Community (BITC) Race at Work Charter. The Society is also a member of Diversity in Retail and it is fully committed to addressing the impacts of climate change by reducing carbon and food waste, increasing recycling and investment in community Sustainable Spaces funded by the carrier bag levy. It recently launched its Malawi Partnership to support farmers and producers in the country through the Co-operative International Trading Development Fund.
It invests a percentage of its trading profit into local communities through its Community Dividend Fund scheme which has seen over £109,769.25 shared out between 121 good causes in 2022.
Press office contact: Sam Bishop, PR Specialist