Co-op starts putting GPS satellite tracking tags on MEAT in bid to stop shoplifters 

Supermarkets have been forced to add GPS tracker systems to meat to stop shoplifters pinching their pork chops.

The Co-op has put the products inside clear plastic boxes with the technology built-in throughout stores across the country.

It comes after some shops have already introduced body-worn cameras which send real-time audio and stills to remote security centres.

The development looks sure to spark debate over the state of a society where food is such a target for crime.

But one shopper who spotted the tracking system on his pork loin in Bournemouth, Dorset, said he had questions about his privacy.

He said: ‘I understand stores have to deter theft, especially during the pandemic when no doubt shoplifting has gone up, but this did seem a little odd.

This rump steak has been housed within the GPS enabled plastic security box in the stores

This rump steak has been housed within the GPS enabled plastic security box in the stores

This rump steak has been housed within the GPS enabled plastic security box in the stores

A pork loin joint is also considered valuable enough to utilise the technological system

A pork loin joint is also considered valuable enough to utilise the technological system

A pork loin joint is also considered valuable enough to utilise the technological system

‘What will they do if someone steals it? Follow them to their house? Watch where they go?

‘Will they call police and ask them to go and retrieve the stolen steak? It all seems like another way of eroding our privacy to me.

‘The police should be dealing with shoplifters, not stores.’

It comes after the British Retail Consortium’s 2020 Retail Crime Survey revealed that staff regularly faced a raft of abuse as well as assaults.

And while it is not clear exactly how the GPS tracker systems will be used but they are most likely a deterrent.

They have appeared on high value items, mainly meat.

Stores have already introduced body worn cameras which send real-time audio and stills

Stores have already introduced body worn cameras which send real-time audio and stills

Stores have already introduced body worn cameras which send real-time audio and stills

Customers have noticed the new GPS tracking systems with some posting on Twitter.

Chaniece said: ‘My local Co-op putting GPS boxes on the steaks. Classy.’ 

The Centre for Retail research’s latest figures show that in 2019 £1,993m worth of shoplifting occurred in the UK.

And according to Home Office figures the police recorded 374,395 shoplifting cases in the year ending March 2019.

Stores have taken increasingly robust measures to try and deter thieves.

They have put plastic containers on foods that can only be opened by checkout staff, with some noticing them on things like energy drinks.

The Co-op also plans to double the number of staff who wear body cameras to deter crime and abuse.

By the end of 2021, around 550 staff will be issued with the recording devices, worn around the neck.

Frontline shop workers will also wear headsets so they can alert security about any issues straight away.

GPS stands for Global Positioning System and is a satellite-based navigational system that pings radio waves up to satellites and then back down, allowing an item’s position to be tracked.

Smart phones use GPS for things like maps to show the user where they are.

A Spokesperson for Co-op, said: ‘Safety and security for our colleagues and customers is a number one priority.

‘This is a small scale trial, crime can be a flashpoint for violence, abuse and anti-social behaviour towards frontline shopworkers that continues to rise and, which affects all retailers – Co-op invests in the latest technologies* to deter this unacceptable behaviour.’

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