Supermarket chain Woolworths New Zealand has launched team safety cameras across all its 191 stores as a measure to enhance safety and security in stores. 

This initiative is part of a three-year, $45m investment programme aimed at bolstering security within the retail chain. 

The decision follows a successful trial in 17 stores, where team members reported a reduction in customer conflict and abuse due to the presence of the cameras.  

The safety cameras are activated only during security incidents, and footage is released solely at the request of the police for investigative purposes.  

Team members are instructed to inform customers before initiating recording. 

The retailer is also implementing additional security features such as anti-sweep shelves, push-to-talk radios, and trolley lock systems, which are currently in place in 50 stores.  

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In the coming months, Woolworths plans to introduce secure knife cabinets in various departments to further safeguard against potential threats. 

All security measures are claimed to comply with New Zealand’s legal and privacy standards. 

Over the past three years, Woolworths has experienced a significant rise in violence, with a 75% increase in physical assaults and a 148% surge in serious reportable events.  

Woolworths New Zealand stores director Jason Stockill said: “Our team deserves to feel safe coming to work every day and what they’re dealing with is unacceptable. While 99% of people walking through our door are great and treat our team well, every day our team across the country are still experiencing instances of abuse and aggression from shoplifters and other offenders. 

“Speaking to team members who have trialled using team safety cameras, they’ve told me they feel much safer knowing that they have a tool to record abuse or conflict when it arises – and often turning the camera on actually de-escalates the situation completely, which is fantastic.”  

Recently, Woolworths officially rebranded its Countdown operations in New Zealand.