Why take a holistic approach to retail security?

In the last year, retailers have been faced with a growing number and whole new variety of security challenges. One of the biggest has been the increase in violent attacks against people working in convenience stores. The latest 2021 ACS Crime report shows over 40,000 violent attacks against staff in C-store4s with more than 1.2 million incidents of abuse, which often go unreported.

Despite the shockingly growing numbers of crimes against our frontline workers, the most popular features used in‐store to prevent crime continue to be CCTV, staff training and external security. Each of these methods bring different advantages to the table, but individually they can fail to properly protect and support a business and its staff.

CCTV is commonplace in customer facing businesses such as the retail sector. It often acts as a deterrent and can allow perpetrators to be identified. However, during a potentially harmful situation, CCTV isn’t able to provide support to staff and doesn’t actually handle the situation in real time.

External security, such as locks and shutters, may provide a means of protecting a retail store from break-ins and robbery but provides no comfort or reassurance to the staff that face anti‐social behaviour and other negative situations, day in day out, during working hours.

Training employees, and equipping them with the knowledge of how to deal with anti‐social activity, enables them to deal with the situation as and when it occurs and may empower them. However, for retail workers, this should not be a main focus of their job and may detract them from their key tasks, while a negative or violent situation may be a source of stress, can hinder staff wellbeing and potentially place them in an even more dangerous situation.

Evaluating the individual role of any security measure, whether it be technology or people-based, in crime prevention shows advantages and disadvantages. However, a holistic approach that combines latest technology with human support can create a security solution with all of the benefits.

StaffSafe provides frontline retail workers with a concealed under counter or body-worn trigger which, when pressed, alerts the StaffSafe response team that support is needed. Within seconds the staff member, in conflict or danger, has two-way communication with an experienced StaffSafe team member who can interact, intervene and give assurance. Through two-way communication, sight and sound, they offer best-practice security advice to staff, reassure them that help is on hand, and can alert the relevant emergency services in real-time.

Through this solution, technology provides a way to quickly access expert human help exactly when it is required, reducing stress for staff. The technology also allows a quick and discreet way to gain assistance without drawing any negative attention to the employee. This is particularly useful for lone workers, who would usually have to face these situations alone.

Combining technology and people, through an ultra-fast, seamless system provides a holistic solution to protecting shop workers with many advantages over single security measures.