Woolworths outlines strategies to reduce staff abuse in stores 

As incidents of employee abuse grow, Woolworths New Zealand has set up a number of security and safety measures in its stores as part of its strategy to combat retail crime

The supermarket giant showed statistics revealing that attacks in its stores have increased dramatically over the previous year, with team members being intimidated and assaulted in broad daylight, particularly by repeat offenders.

Woolworths New Zealand will install team safety cameras in all stores, trolley lock systems, fog cannons, double-entry gates and anti-sweep shelving. The retailer is also considering further measures such as duress alarms for team members working in isolated locations. 

According to Woolworths, there were 925 incidences of violence and aggressiveness in Woolworths stores last year, up from 848 the year before, representing a 9 per cent rise. 

“Our responsibility is to keep our team and customers safe in our stores, and we’re investing in a range of security measures to help with that, but we can’t do it alone. We need continued collaborative action across Government, agency and industry,” said Jason Stockill, Woolworths New Zealand’s director of stores.

In recent years, retail crime has become one of the significant issues in New Zealand, with 92 per cent of retailers involved in these issues. Retail NZ released a Crime Report in October that the annual cost of retail crime to its members exceeded $2.6 billion. 

Retail crime is being driven by organised crime gangs stealing to order, drug addicts and young people seeking recognition on social media, according to Retail NZ CEO Carolyn Young.  

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