Walk through the checkout line at a Lidl GB supermarket, or stroll down an aisle, and you might be surprised at what you see when you run into a store colleague.
Namely, and notably, a camera staring back at you.
The discount retailer has removed the lens on a new scheme that has its employees wearing body cameras to reinforce “its commitment to ensuring the safety and security of both customers and colleagues.”
Welcome to 2023 and the Orwellian state of shopping made necessary by the rise in attacks on staff in various stores in the UK, among other issues.
“While our stores are typically safe environments, retail crime is something that is impacting the whole industry,” Lidl GB Chief Executive Officer Ryan McDonnell said in support of the cameras which will appear in, and be filming customers, eventually in all 960 of its supermarkets. “Our investment into ensuring all our stores have body-worn cameras is just one of the ways we’re taking action to protect and provide reassurance to our colleagues and customers.”
Lidl noted that cameras will not be used for any purpose other than for crime prevention and protection.
“All Lidl colleagues will receive training to ensure the cameras are used safely and in a way that protects an individual’s privacy,” the supermarket said in a statement.
The major reason for implementation of body cams is to stop crime, according to McDonnell. Supermarkets including Tesco have seen a rise in the number of violent incidents and threats over the past few years. Lidl, in fact, joined group called Project Pegasus last month (at a clip of £60,000 over two years) in which it will be working with law enforcement to deter and stop theft and assaults.
“It is essential that the industry comes together to find new and innovative ways to combat serious and organised retail crime across the UK,” McDonnell said.
Lidl is pouring more than £2 million into the initiative, which will see a complete rollout by Spring 2024. Even though this breakthrough is happening in Lidl, other supermarkets are testing out the technology too either in trial runs or simply putting them in certain locations.