Netwatch develop new security system to make work safer for retail staff

Netwatch Staff Safety Solution allows an intervention specialist to observe an incident in real time and intervene

Public facing staff face intimidation and physical attacks on a regular basis



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12 May 2023

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A new security solution to make public-facing workers feel safer has been launched by Carlow-based proactive video monitoring company Netwatch.

While traditional systems, such as a Panic Button, trigger an alarm when an incident occurs or a traditional CCTV system can capture the incident for future analysis, the new Netwatch solution goes further.

As was demonstrated to Garda Crime Prevention Officers on a recent visit to the Netwatch headquarters, the Netwatch Staff Safety Solution allows an intervention specialist to observe an incident in real time and intervene when staff are facing intimidation or physical risk, and at the same time alerting the Gardai.

The new technology has been launched in the wake of a number of surveys showing that public facing staff in retail premises, pharmacies, hotels, licenced premises and petrol stations are facing intimidation and often physical attacks on a regular basis.

A recent survey from the retail group RGDATA found that 95% of retailers have been victims of crime over the last 12 months. 25% said that they had been subjected to violent burglaries and robberies in their shops.

The RGDATA survey also found that shop owners and their staff were subject to abusive behaviours by people engaging in criminal activity in their stores, including screaming and shouting, spitting, punching, and kicking, sexual harassment and false defamation claims.

Another survey from forecourt and convenience retailer Circle K published in January, found that 83% of retail workers in Ireland have experienced harassment from customers. Physical assault is another serious issue which the research highlights, with 50% of Irish retail workers having witnessed a colleague being physically assaulted by a customer.

The Netwatch Staff Safety Solution can mitigate these issues by allowing for two-way conversation between staff and a Netwatch specialist in real time if needed. Once activated the Netwatch Staff Safety Solution provides a live visually monitored situation. A highly trained Netwatch specialist will view the scene live. Along with visually verifying what is happening the specialist can also hear the conversation on the premises as it takes place.

The Netwatch team of specialists will follow the agreed course of action, which may involve speaking directly to the people involved, and contacting the Gardai. The priority is keeping the people involved safe.

Colin Hayes, Netwatch managing director for Ireland and UK, said: “A safe outcome for all involved is key for Netwatch. Our team has over 20 years’ experience managing high risk situations and knows how to handle them safely. They will visually assess the event and take the appropriate action, including liaising directly with the Gardai, providing them with live details of the incident.

“Staff can activate the Netwatch Staff Safety Solution as soon as they feel threatened and be confident that someone is instantly available to help manage the situation safely. This is particularly valuable and comforting for situations where just one staff member is on duty such as an evening or late-night opening situation such as a petrol station or chemist.”

Hayes added that the Netwatch Staff Safety Solution is ideal for retail premises, pharmacies, petrol stations, bookmakers, hotel receptionists and lone desk workers as well as charity hostels: “It enhances the protection of people, property and assets without any capital expenditure, just a simple fixed daily fee.”



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