BACKGROUND & CONTEXT:
Providing a safe and secure environment for shoppers and staff alike is paramount to retailers. Sadly, store managers, associates and security personnel are at risk of abuse. In the UK alone retailers have seen violence and physical attacks against retail staff increasing by 40% in the last 12 months*.
Security challenges can range from organised attacks from criminal groups, to petty theft, to abusive or aggressive members of the public. A significant proportion of incidents are thought to be linked to confrontation arising when store colleagues attempt to intercept suspected shoplifters.**
Risk is not limited to store-based colleagues. For example, delivery drivers can be targeted when transporting valuable goods or delivering to certain locations.
Visible deterrents, such as having more security personnel on the shop floor, are an effective measure, however this is not a cost-effective intervention in many cases.
WHAT WE’RE LOOKING FOR:
Prevention is always the best cure, so we’re looking for innovations that train and equip staff to protect themselves, eliminate the need for staff intervention to manage incidents, or influence the perception of risk (through store design, placement of staff, etc) so as to avoid confrontations in the first place.
This could include innovative training systems, monitoring to ensure staff comply with policies on incident handling, robotic security, wearables or other devices, video analytics, alert systems and other tools that improve the safety of staff and security personnel.
This challenge is not limited to the physical retail environment - we’re also interested in solutions that could help protect delivery drivers.
QUESTIONS WE’RE SEEKING TO ANSWER:
● How can technology and people prevent and reduce the risk of violence?
● How can technology create a secure and safe retail environment?
● How can technology enable retail staff to engage customers while ensuring their safety and protection?
● How can technology help to better train and equip staff in the mitigation of violence, for example adhering to the safety and conflict management policies
● How can technology support store staff in mitigating violence and at the same time be a learning tool to improve performance on crime prevention and response?