Use of body cams, facial recognition for retailer mulled after NZ attack

Exchanging information with police could also be useful

Use of body cams, facial recognition for retailer mulled after NZ attack

Suggestions to equip employees with body cams and utilising facial recognition technology have begun floating around in the wake of Friday's attack at an Auckland supermarket, leaving six people stabbed and suspect Ahamed Aathill Mohamed Samsudeen dead.

Retail NZ chief executive Greg Harford said retailers are more likely to increase the security presence in their stores following the incident, which could include the usage of high-surveillance technology.

"I think you might see businesses do that. You could see more of a security presence in stores and also things like facial recognition software, which I know some people aren't particularly fond of but is something that really helps to keep people safe," said Harford as quoted by Stuff.

According to the official, Retail NZ has also been working on measures to improve store securities even before the pandemic, and this included the use of body cams, a tool that can help restrain potential troublemakers.

"People do tend to be a little more restrained when they realise they're immediately on camera," the Retail NZ chief was quoted as saying by Radio New Zealand.

Harford said while the use of such tools is "not an ideal situation," retail managers need to ensure safety.

Read more: Woolworths trials body cam for employees

Given that such high-tech surveillance tech are not immediately available, especially for smaller businesses, Harford suggested the simpler alternative of exchanging information with retailers and police. He also suggested making security staff more visible, similar to the First Union's recommendation to have other staff members working with them.

"The one thing that still comes out on top, and that people always say, is what makes them feel safe is having other staff around," said Tali Williams as quoted by Stuff. She is the retail organiser of First Union, which represents retail workers.

The terror attack on Friday left the targeted supermarket staff stunned, according to its general manager of safety in an interview with RNZ. The incident prompted the store to "temporarily remove all knives and scissors" from its shelves while they discuss whether to continue selling such items.

"This is in no way a reflection on our customers, but an act of support for our team. We want all of our team to feel safe when they come to work," it said in a statement on Saturday.

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