A subsidiary of Supermarket giant Tesco since 2003, One Stop Stores is a retail convenience business with over 750 stores across England and Wales.
Open 7 days a week and trading from early in the morning till last thing at night, their focus is to be the best store for their customers in their neighbourhood.
SUMMARY OF SERVICES: Planned and responsive maintenance, installation, remote alarm monitoring, asset tracking, remote staff safe solution and provision of fire risk assessments
CONTRACT START/END: 2004 – ongoing
GEOGRAPHY: Mainland UK
NO. SITES: 750+
Since 2003, we have worked with One Stop to provide a total fire life safety and security solution, encompassing all standard solutions while implementing new and bespoke technology to ensure the safety of their staff.
Throughout the partnership we have continually supported One Stop in providing new rip out and installation projects following their many acquisitions. This has included the roll out of new stores and occasions where we will be undertaking new installations / store refits weekly. These include all fire life safety and electronic security systems on site.
We also support One Stop Stores in their fire risk assessment requirements and providing them with competent fire safety advice.
During the term of our partnership, we have undertaken several national roll out programmes, upgrading the existing systems to include innovative technology that supports One Stop’s requirements to ensure the safety and security of their staff, property and stock. These programmes have included the installation of; smoke cloak fogging system, staff safe / lone worker systems, DualCom monitoring and DNA Selector Spray.
Store of the Future
For One Stop Stores the Integrated Technology Division has developed an enhanced security solution that is currently being rolled out across their national estate and is recognised as their Store of the Future.
The purpose of the security systems is to protect the store colleagues, customers and stock.
The integrated security solution incorporates the considerable benefits of Duress on Entry System, CCTV verification and Asset Tracking.
The solution has already proven highly successful, reducing staff assault, loss and directly resulting in the retrieval of stolen goods and the prosecution of criminals.
Over our partnership a number of key concerns have been raised which have been addressed with the following solutions:
• Staff Safety
• Theft of Tobacco
• Theft of Cash
• In Store disruption by ‘undesirables’
A scoping document was developed based upon our clients concerns, and a risk assessment conducted of the key “pinch points” or vulnerabilities within the store and its procedures. These were then presented back to the client Loss Prevention team together with some proposed solutions:
- Staff attacked when entering property early in the morning
- Staff tied up and intimidated whilst waiting for a safe time clock to open
- Staff attacked when locking up site late at night
- Staff threatened in armed raids for tobacco and cash
- Staff intimidated by undesirable store visitors – gangs of youths or intoxicated individuals
The project was then passed to our innovation team who developed a solution for each issue identified.
Entering and Leaving a Property
Staff enter and unset an alarm where they proceed to store office to put on their wireless PA wristband. Within the office they must press an unmarked button that signals to the Alarm & Video Receiving Centre (AVRC) “I’m OK”. If they fail to do this within the prescribed time the AVRC will receive an automatic duress signal. The Operator follows the Merlin AI procedures to ensure the situation is dealt with correctly. Initially they connect to the store CCTV system and are able to watch (in full HD) and listen to the situation. If they are witness to a hostile situation, the Police are contacted and the relevant security protocols invoked. If all appears well, they use the 2 way audio to communicate with the store and check there are no issues.
A similar system is used when staff leave the store. They activate a “follow me out” button, and if they fail to set the alarm then a similar protocol is invoked.
We have added a DNA solution to our existing Smoke Cloak system thereby pinpointing any individual to the store that has been robbed.
Opening a Safe
When opening a Safe the staff member presses another button. Failing to do so (i.e., in a hostile situation) sends another covert alarm to the ARC.
This proprietary solution is the Marlowe Fire & Security “Silent Angel”. In general, the system is proactive so in a hostile situation it does not rely on a staff member pressing a panic button.
Undesirable Store Visitors
We provide automatic and remote announcements in store to deal with any unwanted customers and we have a large panic button capable of locking the store doors immediately whilst sending a signal to the ARC to request remote support.
More recently we have developed an antiloitering solution to protect the outside of the store at night. The complex algorithms use analysed behaviour of people outside a closed store. If they are deemed to be “suspicious” in nature, a blue and red strobe light flashes on the external camera.
This inevitably attracts the individual’s attention not only acting as an excellent deterrent, but it also ensures they face the camera long enough to capture a high-definition image to be used should an incident occur.
Store Detective Solution
Another useful tool is the ‘Store Detective’ solution for rapid playback and interrogation of CCTV footage. Simply draw the area of interest on the screen (again maybe a shelf containing high value goods such as spirits), select a time and date range and almost instantly a range of thumbnail images will be displayed for the security team to click through quickly to find the incident they are looking for. This powerful tool can save many hours of work and had along with several other features added as bespoke software to the hybrid DVR installed in store. We include edge recording at critical camera points ensuring the theft of DVR does not result in all evidence being lost.
Theft of Tobacco
In the event of a robbery or break-in which involves the theft of tobacco products Marlowe Fire & Security have developed a GPS tracking solution. The device we provide is placed inside an
empty cigarette packet. In the event of the packet being removed from store a GPS alarm is generated which in turn signals to our AVRC. If the event is part of a robbery or a break it is highly likely we have already received a
signal from store. The integration of the tracker through our Sentinel monitoring platform means that our AVRC operators are already actively tracking the device in realtime on a map. The information is then relayed also in real-time to the local Police force. We have had significant results with this element of the solution enabling Police to make arrests and recover One Stop Property successfully.
There are CCTV monitors on Key aisles that can display special offers and branded messaging but will display ‘customers’ as soon as they enter a key area – perhaps an alcohol aisle where theft is more commonplace.
Visually Verified Intruder Alarm
The alarm systems are monitored by our AVRC, Marlowe Connect – 24/7 365 days a year. In the event of an alarm activation our ARC operators are presented not only with an intruder alarm signal but links to live CCTV footage from the store. This greatly reduces the risk of a false alarm (a loss of URN) whilst providing great safeguarding for One Stop employees, customers, and stock protection.
Our development with the security team will undoubtedly continue as we work in partnership to provide greater safeguarding and security.
Most of the products used in this project were already in use. We added a tracking device and produced two bespoke control units, but by combining more complex cause & effect through the Merlin AI platform in our Alarm Receiving Centre, and writing intuitive procedures for the operators, a reliable and robust safety and security solution has been delivered.
There have been multiple arrests made for two armed robberies of cigarettes and cash through tracking devices (a 100% success record to date), two further for Smoke cloak DNA deployment and one for automatic duress.