Woolworths staff to wear body cameras amid 131 percent rise in physical assault

Woolworths staff at ten stores will start wearing body cameras amid a shocking rise in assaults ahead of the busy festive season.   

It comes as the supermarket giant previously known as Countdown revealed there has been a 131 percent rise in physical assaults against its staff in the last six months compared to the same time last year.   

This includes staff being spat on, called names, and shoved. 

Woolworths is fed up.   

"Our message this Christmas as we head into the seasonal period, we're really just asking Kiwis to treat our team with respect," Woolworths head of health and safety and well-being Denva Wren said.  

"They absolutely deserve it and they're trying to do the very best they can do to help serve our customers right across the motu."  

The supermarket chain is launching a campaign calling for respect in the lead-up to the holiday period.  

Appearing on AM on Tuesday morning, Wren told the show the 131 percent increase in physical assaults is "really concerning".   

This has seen the supermarket chain invest $45 million into safety initiatives to ensure stores are safe for customers and staff.   

This includes double entry gates at storefronts, new cameras at checkouts, trolley-locking systems and fog cannons being trialled in some stores.  

Another initiative being trialled at 10 stores around the country is staff wearing body cameras to try to deter physical assaults.   

Wren said the cameras will only turn on when staff activate them during a situation.   

"The team will activate them when an event is occurring and they'll actually communicate with the customer or the offender at that time and that means that actually it's only recording the sound and the visuals at that time and it meets all of the privacy requirements that we need," she said.  

Watch the full video above.