The Co-op is deploying a new weapon in the fight against retail crime.
The society is introducing ‘fog cannons’ from SmartWater, which spray a dense fog to obscure a criminal’s vision and leave a residue that can link criminals and stolen goods back to the scene of a crime.
The devices are being rolled out to Co-op food stores in the UK. Co-op currently uses an invisible SmartWater spray on its ATMs, but the fog cannons will be deployed at kiosks, which are a beacon for criminals due to the presence of cash and high-value age-restricted items. The cannons are activated when sensors are triggered.
Invisible to the naked eye, an amount of spray equivalent in size to a speck of dust can help police with identification.
The move is part of the Co-op’s investment in technology to improve the safety of retail staff as part of its ‘Safer Colleagues, Safer Communities’ campaign. This includes the rollout of digital headsets to staff. These aim to deter retail crime, enhance safety and security, and improve customer satisfaction as colleagues respond to customer enquiries, check availability and respond to spillages and other operational matters more easily and efficiently.
“Safety and security is our number one priority. We know that violence and crime is about much more than statistics, it is about its impact on people’s lives and the communities in which they live and work. We see the impact of social issues in our stores and we’re committed to doing all we can to protect colleagues and make our communities safer,” said Co-op head of retail loss and costs Andrew Needham.