We step up security for a growing supermarket chain

Client


A supermarket chain selling convenience-store products, fresh produce from local growers and more


Background


The client is a supermarket with a twist. Founded by a group of former market gardeners from Kent, the chain sells convenience-store products alongside fresh, seasonal fruit and veg from local growers, with a growing sideline in UK-sourced meat and game.


From small beginnings in Deal, the client grew quickly to six stores in Kent and East Sussex, and a 2019 IPO raised sufficient capital to open 'second generation' premises in Essex and Hampshire.


The client’s future was looking good...until the chain's founders noticed the extent of theft from stores in Southampton, Colchester and Harwich. The team were perplexed by the thefts, which focussed on high-ticket items like UK-reared grouse, pheasant and venison.


Fortunately, the manager of the Southampton store had previous dealings with RG Security, and he recommended us to his bosses. In less than three days, an RG site team had visited the Southampton premises and prepared an initial report.


The starting point was to analyse why things were going wrong at the Southampton store…and, by extension, at the other sites.


RG's team leader pointed out that the Southampton premises differed significantly from the more-established branches. It was a large building which had stood empty for some years following the failure of another supermarket chain. The long vacancy had happened in part because it had been designed for the high staffing levels typical of the 90s. Operated 2020-style by only four or five staff, it was a magnet to casual thieves.


More to the point, it had been designed for direct unloading into its cold store. The drop-off zone with its raised delivery platform made things very easy for the lorry drivers…but also provided employees with an unmonitored route straight out to the car park.


Solution


RG's report recommended 24-hour CCTV monitoring of the shop interior, the delivery area and the car park. It was an ambitious plan that would require both a video operator and an ongoing physical presence on-site...or, at least, throughout busy periods. Uniformed guards would be stationed at the entry/exit areas – with full backup from the RG's well-respected alarm response service – and would also implement employee security checks via coded identity badges and a 'clock on' system.


The client's management okayed every element of the Southampton plan. Following a rushed installation of hardware and the rapid conversion of a staff cloakroom to a monitoring station, RG Security stood up its on-site team within three days of the get-go.


Outcome


The outcome at the Southampton store was a clear-cut, immediate 92% reduction in theft. The deterrent effect of uniformed guards was naturally important, but the client’s manager who had given our details to his bosses maintained that the most significant changes had been 24hr CCTV monitoring of the goods entrance and employee bag checks.


To date, there has been no attempted break-ins…and RG's security plan proved so successful that the happy client repeated the exercise at their Essex premises.