Retail staff at six major department stores across Australia have started wearing body cameras in a bid to reduce threatening and abusive behavior from customers.
- Target is trialling the use of staff-worn cameras to deter threatening behavior in six of its stores across Australia
- The store at Buranda in Brisbane is part of the trial aimed to reduce abusive and threatening behavior towards the team of workers.
- National Retail Association chief executive Dominique Lamb says there has been an increase in retail crime and abusive behavior towards workers during the pandemic
Target Australia is trialling the staff-worn cameras in the selected stores, including at Buranda in Brisbane, as a way of deterring threatening situations.
It comes after an increase in threats to staff across the industry during the pandemic.
A sign at the Buranda Target store explained that selected staff members would wear the cameras as part of a safety trial “looking for better ways to keep our team and community safe”.
“These cameras will be worn by selected team members and turned on only in the event of an escalating situation where they feel there is a threat to their safety,” the sign said.
“The cameras capture video recordings only and the footage is only accessible by Target leadership and security teams, and where appropriate law enforcement agencies.”
National Retail Association chief executive Dominique Lamb said staff wearing body-worn cameras was becoming more common.
She said throughout the COVID-19 pandemic there had been spikes in retail crime, aggression and abuse towards retail workers.
“Predominantly, it is major retailers that are implementing technologies like this, mainly because obviously there’s a certain amount of cost involved,” Ms Lamb said.
“But we are aware of CCTV cameras being put in in small businesses, we know there’s a whole raft of other deterrents being employed, you know groups of retailers getting together to kind of pitch in for security in certain circumstances.
“More and more, what we’re seeing is aggression towards retail workers … we know there has been quite a spike around the use of weapons in retail crime and now it’s very much about keeping retail workers safe.”
Ms Lamb said there was no excuse as to why anyone should face this kind of behavior.
Target General Manager of store operations and supply chain Tim Kemp said the safety of customers and staff was the company’s number one priority.
“Across the retail industry the number of threatening situations team members experience has considerably increased since COVID and we are doing everything we can to prevent these in our stores,” he said.