Cencuswide (2020) have conducted research that reveals 75% of retail staff have encountered a scenario at work that made them feel at risk of physical abuse, 88% frequently feel unsafe at work and only 32% would call their manager for help if they felt they needed it.
Moreover, the statistics give insight into the types of safety measures that retail staff need and would benefit from to protect them from receiving physical or verbal abuse. Retailers, such as Boots and Co-op have recently started trialling and implementing body worn cameras into their stores in an effort to decrease violent and abusive behaviour towards their staff.
Body worn video technology can help retail staff to feel safer at work with the camera acting as a deterrent to possible abusive altercations with members of the public, as well as providing vital evidence should an incident occur. Here are some of the main advantages for retailers to invest in body worn camera technology.
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Captures both video footage and audio recordings that can be used for evidential purposes, and this is done by ensuring that the cameras are mounted on a person which provides better angles than CCTV. Face identification, which is particularly useful at capturing the person’s identity, acts as proof of evidence about the person committing the abuse. This level of evidence makes it easier to gain a conviction.
When the cameras are then linked with the Peoplesafe Pro App, retail workers can raise an SOS alarm to support them if they are experiencing physical or verbal abuse. This means that they can get help during the incident as well as having evidence available for criminal proceedings.
Changing customer behaviour
Body worn cameras are designed to be overt and obvious in an effort to dissuade people from being verbally and physically abusive towards workers, as nearly a quarter of retail workers have reported a form of abuse whilst at work, especially supermarket workers.
The presence of a body worn camera alone helps to reduce verbal and physical abuse to lone workers because people are aware that they are being recorded. A unique feature of the Reveal Media cameras is that they have a front facing screen so members of the public can see that their actions / behaviours are being recorded. This feature acts as a deterrent from possible offences, as the person can clearly see that if they were to commit verbal or physical abuse, the camera would collect evidence of the offender.
Unlike CCTV cameras that are in fixed positions, body worn cameras are mobile and designed to be carried around by shop workers hands-free, allowing them to capture video footage anywhere in the store.
When paired with the Peoplesafe Pro App, the wearer of the bodycam can also raise an alarm which will be received by our Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC). Similar to the camera, the app is portable, so unlike traditional panic buttons that are under the counter or in a fixed location in the store, staff are able to get help wherever they are.
As well as being used for evidence, the recorded video footage can be used internally as training for retail workers; either in gaining insight into possible encounters that they might experience or learning how to handle that situation, should a similar one occur. This would also allow the retail workers’ peace of mind to know that they have a device that works in an emergency and can back up their side of the story, should they need it.
From a business perspective, using footage of a real-life incident provides cost-effective and relevant training material that all members of staff can learn from. It is valuable evidence for store managers to use to drive positive safety changes in the work environment.
Monitor large scale areas
Due to their portable nature, body worn cameras are able to act as surveillance for large areas on the shop floor that might not be captured by CCTV. Theft in the retail industry is a big problem: in 2019, retail establishments lost £700 million as a result of customer theft, as shown in British Crime Survey. Equipping staff with body worn video technology enables more areas of the store to be covered and provides different angles to monitor products.
Improving customer service
If staff feel safer at work, retailers are likely to see an increase in efficiency and customer service. Having a body worn camera diffuses majority of aggressive situations by its sheer presence allowing store colleagues to feel more at ease and focus their attention on the customers themselves.
Additionally, in the event of an incident, having a personal safety device in place will reduce the level of trauma suffered by the victim. The outcome will always be better with a personal safety solution to support people experiencing abusive and anti-social behaviour.
Helping during the pandemic
Although the mask mandate has been lifted across retail, some businesses are continuing to ask their colleagues and customers to wear masks to increase the level of protection in their stores. Similarly, traffic light systems and capacity limits are still being employed in certain locations. It has been suggested that body worn cameras can help to manage any potential abuse faced by retail workers enforcing mask wearing and managing queueing systems.
Furthermore, staff attendance rates have fluctuated due to workers needing to isolate since the pandemic, which has created an issue for retail stores when they are understaffed. The body worn camera paired with the Peoplesafe app ensures safety and efficient communication between the workers that are in, if they feel more vulnerable or that their workload and resources are being stretched more than usual.
For more information about our body worn camera solution with the benefit of a state-of-the-art Alarm Receiving Centre, register your details and speak to one of our consultants today.