10 July 2024: Woolworths is today sharing new data showing assaults in its stores are up significantly on the previous year with team members being threatened and abused in broad daylight, particularly by repeat offenders.

In the last year there have been 925 acts of violence and aggression in Woolworths stores, up from 848 in the previous year - a 9 per cent increase. Physical assaults have had a particularly notable increase with a 50 per cent jump to 329 incidents in the last twelve months, compared to 219 in the previous year. Pleasingly, there has been a reduction in the use of weapons with a 22 per cent drop on the previous year.

Woolworths New Zealand’s Director of Stores, Jason Stockill, says that what they’re seeing from offenders coming into stores is unacceptable and while new security measures are having a positive effect, more needs to be done.

Woolworths has introduced a range of security and safety measures into its stores as part of its $45 million, three year investment programme. These measures include team safety cameras in all stores, trolley lock systems, fog cannons, double-entry gates and anti-sweep shelving.* Further security measures are being considered including duress alarms for team members working in isolated locations.

“Our team is being threatened and hurt in broad daylight, and despite offenders being arrested and going through the justice system - they’re coming back and doing it again. We’ve been pleased to see the focus on law and order and look forward to working with the Government further this quarter.

“Our responsibility is to keep our team and customers safe in our stores, and we’re investing in a range of security measures to help with that, but we can’t do it alone. We need continued collaborative action across Government, agency and industry,” adds Jason.

Woolworths New Zealand is asking for consideration of a similar system to Australian Workplace Protection Orders and improvements to trespass law for retail businesses.