Waitrose has become the latest retailer to roll out body-worn cameras to ensure its staff “always feel safe and supported”.
Body-worn cameras will now be issued to security staff at 50 Waitrose branches across the UK, but the grocer says the move is not a response to a rise in abuse.
Unlike its rival Co-op, which last month issued body-worn cameras to staff at 250 locations in direct response to historic “violence and abuse”, Waitrose said it planned to introduce these long before lockdown began.
In fact, Waitrose is one of the few major UK supermarkets not to report a significant rise in crime during the pandemic, despite upping security across its entire store estate at the start of lockdown “as a precaution”.
According to a reported release by Co-op in June shop workers are facing a “store crime epidemic” and have seen incidents skyrocket 140 per cent this year.
Co-op said the number of violent incidents have hit record levels, with 1350 attacks reported, including shop workers being spat at and threatened with being “given coronavirus”.
It was not the only retailer to see a spike in crime levels during the pandemic.
A recent study by workers’ union Usdaw showed that of the 5000 shopworkers it interviewed 3069 had received verbal abuse between March and April, while 1426 were threatened and a worrying 196 were physically assaulted.