Coffee shop chain
Leading national retailers have recognised the importance of providing a safe environment for both staff and customers. A safe environment promotes the well being of staff and delivers a pleasurable and relaxing experience for customers who visit coffee shops and enjoy their products. This approach is now central to their business strategy and has evolved from partnership work which has been carried out with Westminster City Council (WCC) through the Café Watch initiative.
This initiative involved partnership work with WCC environmental health enforcement officers and crime prevention officers employed by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS).
Particular stores were identified as having an unusually high incidence of reported crime and high customer numbers throughout the day. These stores were used as a model for the development of new management systems specifically targeted at identifying branches where there was shown to be an increased risk of violence, and the reduction of that risk to both staff and customers.
The project delivered the following changes to health and safety arrangements:
- the development of corporate policies for the effective management of the threat of violence to staff and customers
- store-specific risk assessment procedures for evaluating the risk of violence
- a process for consulting staff on their views and concerns regarding the risk of violence
- procedures for recording non-reportable incidents and local crime mapping arrangements to identify potential hot spots
- staff training in conflict management and awareness of potential triggers
- encouraging staff to remind members of public to look after their personal property
- use of high resolution CCTV equipment which can be used for evidential purposes by MPS, together with prominent signage stating that CCTV is used within a store as a deterrent
- open display of crime prevention material within a store - for example, table top display barkers produced by the partnership and distributed by the MPS
- use of 'Chelsea clips' (under-table bag clips) in higher-risk areas identified by crime mapping techniques and the process of risk assessment
- development of a 'best practice' document to enable sharing of knowledge and experience
The introduction of these arrangements has led to a 50% reduction in reported crimes across coffee shop outlets in the project, and a more proactive approach to the management of the risk of violence across the entire chain.