Body cameras could be trialled at Co-op stores to ‘keep colleagues safe’ - including St Ives branch

Body cameras could be trialled at Central England Co-op stores to ‘keep colleagues safe’ - including

Body cameras could be trialled at Central England Co-op stores to ‘keep colleagues safe’ - including St Ives branch. Picture: CO-OP - Credit: Archant

Body cameras to keep staff and customers safe at supermarkets in a bid to cut crime could be used in Cambridgeshire – including a store in St Ives.

Central England Co-op announced it is trialling the use of body cameras to protect shopworkers who may have been threatened or assaulted.

The cameras could be rolled out at stores in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough - including its branch in St Ives - in an effort to deter threats and acts of violence towards colleagues and security guards.

It comes as the retailer, which has more than 260 stores across 16 counties, has already begun the trial in two stores in the West Midlands and expects it to last between six and eight weeks.

It is part of an ongoing high-profile Central England Co-op campaign for more to be done to protect shopworkers; which was recently was backed by more than 200 MPs from across the political divide.

Nicola Walton, loss prevention advisor, said: “We are aware that any kind of crime can be frightening for store colleagues.

“We are doing everything we can to prevent incidents like this from happening, but if something does happen we offer them support and counselling both from within our business and from specialists.

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“Over the past few years we have invested heavily in a range of measures to keep our colleagues and customers safe from centrally monitored CCTV systems that can be activated at the touch of a button to increased numbers of security guards.”

Recent figures from the retailer showed assaults jumped by 100 per cent, threats and intimidation by 25 per cent and verbal abuse by 175 per cent since the start of the year.

Some examples of incidents have included multiple threats by customers to cough on colleagues and “give them Coronavirus” and further threats of assaults because people have had to queue to enter stores, social distance or simply because they do not have a specific product.