Tim Dower: Supermarket staff wearing body cameras - when did we get so aggressive?

Author
Tim Dower,
Publish Date
Mon, 19 Apr 2021, 10:59AM
Supermarket queues before the level four lockdown in New Zealand. (Photo / File)
Supermarket queues before the level four lockdown in New Zealand. (Photo / File)

Tim Dower: Supermarket staff wearing body cameras - when did we get so aggressive?

Author
Tim Dower,
Publish Date
Mon, 19 Apr 2021, 10:59AM

Question: when did we all get so aggressive, and why?

It's kind of crept up on us, but there's something seriously wrong with society when people start wearing body cameras at work because of an increasing number of assaults.

Bad enough that police need increasing levels of protection: stab proof vests, tasers, access to guns.

Worse still that firefighters and ambulance crews not only have to deal with distressed, injured and often horribly intoxicated people, they also have to face abuse, intimidation, and assault as they're trying to go about their work.

Staff in emergency rooms are frequently on the receiving end, so much so they need security guards on the doors and closed circuit TV in every corner.

They must dread those Friday and Saturday night shifts.

Now, though, things are starting to get bad for people working in supermarkets.

Perhaps it had something to do with having to queue to get in or the morbid fear of not being able to buy 100 rolls of toilet paper, but in 2020, assaults doubled in Woolworths stores across the Tasman.

So now people stacking the shelves in their stores or working on the checkouts are going to be wearing body cameras.

Supermarket staff wearing body cameras because the public are a threat to them doing their job.

And this isn't just Australia: cameras are already being used in retail across the US and the UK, and apparently they do reduce assaults and abuse.

Countdown here says it's watching the Australian trial, and it's already raised concerns about the frequency and severity of aggression and violence with Police and the Police Minister.

We've all seen cellphone footage of people losing it because someone else got a trolley they wanted, or having a tantrum when they can't get the booze they're after.

And you have to ask yourself, how did we get to be such a seriously sick pack of puppies?

Covid cabin fever?  Stress?  Anxiety? Or did we somewhere along the line, stop growing up?