A Yorkshire NFRN district retailer and local police retail crime group member has voiced their support for a new trial giving retail staff free access to body-worn cameras to help clamp down on retail crime.
In Wakefield, the business improvement district, West Yorkshire Police and security firm Apex Radio are working together to give the devices to staff at stores in the city subject to repeated incidents.
The scheme started in early October and will run until the end of 2021, when a decision will be made as to whether to expand the scheme.
Sergeant Matt Jackson, of Wakefield Central Neighbourhood Policing Team, said the town had seen an “emerging issue” where shoplifting offences escalate into assault offences. He said a number of these were “racially motivated”.
The police officer added: “We hope these bodycams will act as a deterrent, but if incidents do continue to occur, then footage captured by these cameras will assist us in building up evidence to ensure that those responsible are held accountable.”
Yorkshire Live claimed “half the retailer workers in the city” are to be given the devices, but four convenience stores in Wakefield spoken to by betterRetailing claimed they were unaware of the trial.
“It’s not too bad here. I don’t think we’d need it,” said one store owner on the outskirts of the city.
Last month, Stephen Hunter, owner of Old Road News in Bradford, took part in a meeting of the West Yorkshire Retail Crime Group alongside West Yorkshire Police and representatives from the major supermarkets, where the trial was discussed.
He told betterRetailing: “They are looking to roll it out, and it’s quite a good idea. I’d be interested in having one as we’ve had a two to three incidents.
“Last May, someone pointed a gun at me, and ever since I’ve been constantly on the lookout.
“When it’s dark, the door is on the buzzer so we can control who’s coming in, but it’s not the best solution. Investing in crime prevention can make all the difference.
“I bought a counter screen last year after seeing it in betterRetailing. It’s just a freestanding unit, but it created a barrier between me and the robber, and made it hard for him to point his gun at me.”
Hunter said data from the trial was being reviewed by West Yorkshire Police to decide on the success of the pilot scheme.
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