Ben Lawrence

Theft has become such a big problem at Ben Lawrence’s BP Sholing site that he is now employing a security guard.

“Theft is most certainly on the increase, particularly in the past six months. We’re seeing daily incidents that our employees are having to deal with, varying from shop theft, verbal abuse and drive-offs to dealing with no means of payment,” Ben told Forecourt Trader.

“We introduced a security guard to provide a level of security and safety to both staff and customers shopping in store. Staff feel safer and more reassured coming to work and our staff retention has vastly improved, as they can see we truly value their safety and happiness within the work environment.”

Ben, a director at Lawrences Garages (London) Ltd, employs the guard through a third party. He looked at times when there were peaks in incidents and ensured that the security guard’s hours covered those periods.

When assessing whether having the guard was good for business, Ben said it was all about measuring the qualitative and quantifiable aspects – the value it brings to staff and customer peace of mind and the number of thefts it prevents.

Speaking at last week’s Forecourt Trader Summit in a panel about crime, Ben said technology would be a ‘lifesaver’ in keeping staff safe.

Technology Ben currently uses in his stores includes sensor-activated cameras where, if something suspicious is captured by the monitoring system, a tannoy announcement will be given advising the individual that the authorities have been alerted. Other technology used includes facial recognition cameras, cameras on the front door and the meat aisle, and headsets for staff to allow for easy communication and a quick response.