1Catherine Johnson, Premier St Dogmaels, Pembrokeshire
“I’m putting in some training to help my team as we had an increase in bad attitudes during the pandemic. If their experience and confidence allow them to deal with an irate customer, then they are advised to do so. But if it’s going to be more of a problem, they are told to ring me immediately. I live very close to the shop and can be there very quickly. We have cameras on site and audio at the till for back-up once something has happened. We can then be fully informed.
“We deal with shoplifting on a case-by-case basis. The staff keep a close eye on stock and we’ve got cameras as well. We had a new system put in a year and a half ago during the pandemic to increase security for staff against abuse. It’s so clear we can see the shoelaces on their shoes. CCTV has come on leaps and bounds, and it allows us to take reasonable precautions. We have signs telling people we have it, which is in itself a deterrent.”
2Muhammad Rashid, Attock Superstore, Oldham, Greater Manchester
“Shoplifting is the old-school problem. We have a big 50-inch TV with all the CCTV camera footage rolling on it. That acts as a basic deterrent because whoever’s on the counter can see everything that’s happening in the shop. We also have shutters and alarms. I don’t have specific staff training, but we tell them to keep more of an eye on someone picking things up and putting them down again, hanging around in the store or large groups coming in. But customers have to feel they can walk around the shop without being watched. It’s a fine balance.
“We don’t get much of a police response and I believe if the theft is under £50, they won’t even consider taking the case. We’ve got respect in the community, though, and people know not to mess with us. We have friends who are also shopkeepers in the area and we all let each other know if people are causing problems. You’ve got to look out for each other.”
3Danny Wilson, runs several One Stop stores in Yorkshire
“All my stores have alarm systems that are linked to the police. They all have panic buttons in the storerooms, so if anyone is causing problems or the staff are in danger, they can push the panic buttons and that calls the police silently. The response from police is much faster this way and they do come straightaway. That’s for serious problems.
“Some of our stores are also on a CCTV radio round. So if something is happening and you’re in a town nearby, other stores can get in touch and report any shoplifting or more minor incidents on the radio to you. You might be aware of shoplifting nearby and you can keep an eye out.
“The police are also more willing to work with you if you have more information and if they know you’ll give them the CCTV footage. If we couldn’t prove something on CCTV, we probably wouldn’t report it.”