Two way radio: Keep your security staff talking

With their high footfall and high sales turnover, the grocery sector represents the thriving heart of in-store retail. Yet crowds of shoppers plus large quantities of movable goods also mean Scotland’s supermarkets are a magnet for criminals, making security a top priority across the sector.

Whether it is mobs snatching high-value meat produce, opportunistic handbag grabs or organised ATM fraud, stories of theft from our supermarkets are rarely out of the headlines for long. This means security personnel are under constant pressure, having to remain vigilant and alert to potential threats to people and property.

One thing most security contractors and retail operators understand is the importance of communication. In a fast-paced, busy, mobile environment, successful security operations depend in no small part on the ability of professionals to think on their feet and share information quickly and effectively.

That is why two way radio is viewed as such a crucial tool by the majority of retail security personnel.

Specialist two way radio supplier Brentwood Radios has more than 40 years’ experience supplying communications solutions to security operators in retail and other industries. Here, the company shares its insights into the key features to look for when deploying two way radio at supermarkets and other large shopping outlets.

Audibility is key

Supermarkets and shopping precincts are busy, often crowded places. Decibel levels amongst all the hubbub can be high, and if you are a security guard on duty, that creates an issue for hearing communications from colleagues clearly. Especially in an emergency situation, you don’t want to have to ask for messages to be repeated. Most modern professional class two way radios are built with audibility as a key criteria; look for features such as noise cancellation and smart volume control.

Prioritise portability and ease of use

Some top spec digital two way radios these days are packed with an impressive range of sophisticated features. But the most powerful handsets also tend to be the largest and heaviest. For security personnel who work on their feet, and who may be required to move quickly to respond to an incident, portability is more of a priority than dozens of features. The same goes for ease of use – when it comes to communicating in an emergency, you don’t want to be scrolling through menus to find the right contacts. Look for lightweight, compact models with simple user interfaces – the classic ‘push to talk’ button is perfect for security patrols.

Join up the dots

Security personnel never work in isolation. In a large supermarket complex where multiple guards are required to patrol all areas adequately, it also makes sense to have two way radio links with store management, team leaders and other nominated staff members. If employees spot something untoward, they want to be able to pass on information to security workers as quickly as possible.

Similarly, if your supermarket is part of a wider precinct or retail park, it pays to have communication links with staff and security personnel at other outlets. With modern digital two way radio, it is possible to use WiFi to connect different teams of two way radio users together into much larger networks. If suspicious activity or a known criminal is spotted in one part of the park, this means information can be shared throughout, ensuring everyone is alert and ready to take preventative action.

This article was created in partnership with Brentwood Radios