sonya adams

Sonya Adams: Staff safety keeps her awake at night

BP staff are now wearing body cams in stores to help keep them safe – and, as a result, any incidents are being taken more seriously by the police.

Speaking at the Forecourt Trader Summit earlier this week, keynote speaker Sonya Adams, BP VP - mobility and convenience retail UK, told the audience that staff safety was something that kept her awake at night – and every day she asks herself ‘What did I do today to make our world safer?’

Adams said it was a daily challenge because crime is evolving so quickly but the deployment of more than 70 bodycams has helped. “We’ve seen fantastic results. The feedback from our store colleagues is incredibly positive,” she told the audience, adding that police tend to treat a crime report very differently when they’ve got video evidence from a body cam.

Adams also spoke about the worrying trend of crime being ‘normalised’. She said a member of staff had suffered appalling racial abuse but had not reported it. However, it was picked up,’ by accident’ on a staff member’s body cam and reported to the police – who made an arrest for aggravated racial abuse.

BP also works with the Retail Trust, which has released some shocking data about crimes against retail staff.

It found that:

• 90% of people in retail have experienced abuse at some point in their career

• Two out of five have experienced verbal abuse every week

• 66% of retail workers feel so stressed and anxious about going to work that their mental health is impacted

• 42% are considering quitting their job and doing something else in the industry.

“This is an awful situation for us to face…If this is our colleagues’ experience, then pretty soon people will vote with their feet and go and do something else. So, it’s incumbent upon us to make sure we are investing to improve those experiences,” said Adams.

She went on to share more of the things BP is doing to help staff feel safer which embrace both technology and physical protection. These included the aforementioned body cams. CCTV, shutters on stores that do not operate 24 hours a day plus an automatic reporting system that goes direct to the police. Meanwhile, BP’s partnership with the Retail Trust helps with emotional support and physical wellbeing.