The coronavirus and other recent developments in society have led to a sharp increase in violence in the public space. This abusive behaviour isn’t just targeted at the police force, healthcare workers and firefighters. Retail employees also bear the brunt of increasingly assertive customer outbursts. This makes the demand for better accountability, a safe working environment and transparency more urgent than ever. Bodycams are used by frontline workers to de-escalate violent situations and train adequate responses to incidents. It comes as no surprise that they are rapidly expanding to new industries.
Bodycams encourage boundaries
Just a few years ago, body-worn cameras were a relatively new phenomenon which were being trialled by a few police forces. Today, almost every police force embraces bodycams and they are used by all frontline workers. The real growth is now visible in other sectors, such as retail.
All employees should be able to go to work without having to worry about abuse. However, the long-term trend of increasing abuse, threats and violence against shop staff has been exacerbated by the pandemic. As a result, there is a lot of evidence that bodycams are gaining popularity among retailers. In the British Retail Consortium’s latest crime survey, an average of 434 abusive incidents a day are said to occur. A Co-op spokesperson tells the BBC that violence, abuse and anti-social behaviour has become “normalised”, is at “unprecedented levels” and affects all retailers. The supermarket has invested a whopping £70m in security measures for staff across the UK, including bodycams. Other retailers that seek to protect their workers with bodycams include Boots and Superdrug, with many more to follow.
In The Netherlands, the federation of Dutch trade unions (FNV) fears that aggression against employees will occur again now the shops are reopened. The organisation calls on employers and the cabinet to place a high importance on the safety of store personnel. According to FNV, employees are afraid that they will be targeted by aggressive individuals, just like at the start of the corona crisis. These fears range from concerns over threats in supermarkets to arguments about children in prams.
The FNV has concluded that enforcement from the police and municipalities at shops is minimal and sometimes even absent. “Our members are bothered by customers who don’t follow the rules,” says Mari Martens, manager of the trade team the union. The solution is for staff to stand up for themselves and set boundaries – something that can be facilitated by wearing a bodycam.
Bodycams increase transparency and accountability
Bodycams can be implemented as part of a short or long-term safety strategy. They can be rolled out in a variety of ways, such as targeting stores with a high risk factor, or allowing key staff within a store to wear bodycams.
Wearing a bodycam positively influences behaviour and de-escalates situations. Bodycams have been proven to reduce the likelihood, number and impact of frontline incidents and conflicts. They also increase transparency and accountability, encouraging both retail employees and customers to act in a more respectful manner. Bodycam video footage can subsequently be used as evidence in criminal investigations and in the courtroom.
More trust and less conflict
Over 500 highly demanding customers in more than 40 countries trust ZEPCAM’s bodycams to protect and support their frontline professionals. These bodycams have been proven to inspire trust and reduce conflict. ZEPCAM’S bodycam solutions are currently highly rated and used by a wide range of frontline workers, including police forces, public transportation and fire departments, industry field workers and medical emergency services. CEO Jurriaan Pröpper expects the market to grow exponentially as more countries and a broader range of sectors start using body-worn camera solutions, with retail and healthcare momentarily leading the way.