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Bosses at a Lichfield retailer say they are rolling out new measures in a bid to tackle criminals targeting stores this winter.

City-based Central England Co-op said it hoped the steps would keep staff and shoppers safe at its 260 stores across the country.

One fo the body-worn cameras being trialled in some Central England Co-op stores

Among the measures are a trial of body-worn cameras, an increase in the use of tracking devices in products and a system allowing staff to press a button for immediate assistance.

Craig Goldie, the company’s loss prevention manager, said:

“We want to send a clear message out to anyone who might be thinking of committing a crime at one of our stores this autumn and winter – this behaviour will not be tolerated and targeting our stores is not worth the risk.

“This campaign is designed to deter would-be criminals and ensure our colleagues and their families are protected from the physical and emotional impact of violence and aggression and feel safe to come to work.

“We are working closely with local police forces to crackdown on these issues and have also installed a range of new security measures to assist us in this ongoing campaign.

“Everyone at Central England Co-op is proud to live, work and serve in our local communities – now we need people to work with us to make sure that all crime – from theft and robberies to violence and aggression towards our colleagues – becomes a thing of the past.”

Craig Goldie, Central England Co-op

Other measures being introduced include an increased use of store detectives and a centrally-monitored CCTV system.

The company said the steps come on the back of figures revealing that verbal abuse on staff had risen by 205% this year, while threats and intimidation were up by 122%. Assaults on workers were up by 47% in the same period.

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