Woolworths is trialling body-worn cameras for staff members in 11 stores nationally as a safety measure, but says the devices will only be turned on "as a last resort".
Director of stores Rob Moffat said that body-worn cameras were "used widely in retail across the US and UK" and had been effective in reducing assaults and abuse of retail staff.
"We’re trialling team safety cameras in a small number of stores to see if they can help prevent assaults and abuse of our team members," Moffat said in a statement.
"This follows a doubling in reports of assaults in our stores in 2020.
"Nobody deserves to be abused at work, so it’s important we look at new measures to help keep our team members safe."
Moffat said that the body-worn cameras would not be switched on all the time. It is understood that they only record video with no audio.
“The cameras will only be turned on as a last resort if a supervisor is concerned about a threat to team safety,” he said.
The retailer has put up signage in each of the trial locations.
The trial locations for the cameras are:
- Victoria: Abbotsford, Millers Junction, St Albans, Sunshine Market Place and Hoppers Crossing
- NSW: Kempsey, Berala and Rosehill
- WA: Coolbellup
- SA: Rundle Mall
- Queensland: Redbank Plains
To date, body-worn cameras have been rolled out by most states and territories to frontline police.