For the past three weeks RN has been focusing on the ways independent retailer can and do use digital tools in their businesses. In the final part, we take a look at how stores are protecting themselves from violence, theft and anti-social behaviour.

My experience: Harry Goraya, Nisa Northfleet

Harry’s business is a family affair but when it comes to store security he protects every member of staff as if they were a relative. Modern technology helps him collect evidence too.

RN: Have you been a victim of crime?
Harry Goraya: A long time ago, I witnessed a man stealing chocolate bars from me. He denied it when I confronted him. He said he’d purchased them somewhere else. At that moment I decided, if I can witness it with my own eyes and the perpetrator still denies the crime, I need something to back me up. We don’t tend to have many issues now but we do help out with problems within the local area by supplying CCTV footage to police. However, I think investing in digital security is important; you need evidence to back yourself up especially if you are ever involved in a court case – you need to be able to protect yourself, your staff and your business.

RN: What is your digital security set-up?
HG: There are in excess of 50 cameras inside the store and at least 10 outside ensuring up to 50 yards of the approach is covered. There are also two big monitors which show what the cameras are picking up. The most recent update cost around £10,000. In fact, the police have said how impressed they are with the set-up and the quality of equipment I have here.

We also have panic buttons at the till which, when pressed, remain silent so the offender doesn’t know they’ve been pressed. They automatically alert the police. So far we’ve never had to use them thankfully. I treat my staff as if they were my family and make my business as safe as I can.

RN: How do you prevent staff shrinkage?
HG: Each till has a minimum of four cameras on it so the staff know they would never be able to get away with anything. The EPoS system is also linked up to my back office monitor so I can see exactly what’s being scanned through the till in real time. We’re very open with our staff – they all know the level of security we have in the store and they know I have remote access. It’s for their protection as well as the business – they know they can’t be accused of anything without proof.

My experience: Dee Sedani One Stop Matlock, Derbyshire

A big focus for Dee Sedani, owner of two One Stop stores in Derbyshire, is building a team he can trust while protecting his business from human error as much as possible. Technology gives him the peace of mind to do this.

Independent convenience retailRN: Have you been a victim of crime?
Dee Sedani: About a year ago I was having problems with staff fiddling their time sheets, jobs not being done to the required standard and a general lapse in consistency.

I installed Retail Guardian, which is a fingerprint-based software. All the in-store jobs, payroll and staff signing in and out all go through it with fingerprints as a way of being accountable.

It can be used to protect my business in terms of health and safety, legislation and just generally ensuring processes are followed. This software has reduced my workload. It means I don’t need to be in the shop to know what’s going on and it’s resulted in a better working relationship with my staff.

RN: What else is in your digital security set-up?
DS: We have a machine called Tidel; it’s like a money-counting robot. It counts all the money it’s fed and then prints out a receipt, it also gives you a receipt when you set up the till for the day – so the money going through my business is being accounted for in another way.

We also have a wireless bakery which ensures any data around food is recorded digitally and is easily accessible and also easily monitored.

A final security measure we have is facial recognition technology. It’s 65% effective, but that’s certainly better than 0%, and it means it’s easier to stop banned customers coming in.

RN: How do you prevent staff shrinkage?
DS: Having the money counter has meant I don’t have change easily accessible behind the counter and it has meant staff aren’t tempted to stick their hand in the till. Everything is accounted for with this machine. I implemented it eight years ago and, human error aside, I’ve lost 2p in that entire time.