Central England Co-operative is improving security across its food stores with a new central monitoring system, after stores across its trading area suffered a series of robberies and ram-raids.
External motion detectors are being installed across dozens of sites, along with a centrally monitored CCTV system which allows colleagues to call for assistance at the touch of a button.
The improvements are being rolled out in food stores across Derbyshire, Leicestershire, the West Midlands, Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire, and Yorkshire. The society is working with Co-op Secure Response, which is part of the East of England Co-operative, on the initiative.
Co-op Secure Response runs an Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) that is monitored 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, by a team of accredited security professionals. It uses state-of-the-art technology to monitor almost 7,000 CCTV cameras across the country.
Head of Co-op Secure Response, Lee Hammond, said: “We have worked hard over the past seven years to ensure that the services we offer are the very best for us and our clients’ businesses, and are looking forward to working with Central England Co-op to help protect their colleagues, customers and business.”
Marianne Nyambo, loss prevention manager at Central England, said that responding to incidents such as robberies and ATM thefts was the society’s “first priority”.
She said the society was doing everything possible to prevent such incidents, and support and counselling was available to colleagues affected when they do take place.
She added: “We work closely with police forces across the 16 counties in which we trade in order to protect our colleagues, customers and community. We already have full CCTV coverage in all our stores, have increased our provision of security guards and reduced incident response times.
“We have now secured funding to put in place further measures to try and ensure that people are kept safe.We will be using a central monitoring system that will allow colleagues to press a button to alert a special control room who will then be able to watch what is happening on CCTV and call for immediate assistance from the emergency services if required.
“This will allow for quicker support for colleagues as incidents are escalated quicker and will also help increase colleague’s perception of safety and security, something of which has happened when the system has been installed elsewhere across our business.
“External motion detectors will also be installed outside of our food stores and will be activated outside of trading hours. When activated they will switch on CCTV cameras to record any out of hours activity and contact police if needed.
“These measures, along with the ones we already have in place, will hopefully deter criminals and, most importantly, ensure our colleagues and customers feel safe.”
The initiative builds on previous efforts by the society to address security concerns. Early this year, it joined forces with West Midlands Police and Northamptonshire Police to promote the fact that targeting convenience supermarkets is not “worth the risk”.
This campaign raised awareness of the society’s strict cash controls, which limit the amount of money at each store to very low levels at all times.