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Age-verification technology trial coming to Bestway

Bestway Wholesale is taking part in a Home Office programme to trial pioneering age-verification technology.

The wholesaler has partnered with Innovative Technology to pilot the convenience channel’s first use of age-verification technology.

This will be run until May 2022 across three Bestway Retail stores in Leeds – Bargain Booze in Otley, Wine Rack in Roundhay and Tippl in Garforth – as part of the regulatory Sandbox trial, which is part of a Home Office programme.

Developed by Innovative Technology, the ICU age verification technology is the most accurate independently tested system worldwide and is tailored to help retailers avoid selling alcohol and tobacco products to underage customers.

While the trial will still require humans to check customers ages, the technology has exciting potential use cases in retail, particularly when it comes to protecting staff from abuse.

“We’re proud to be pioneering the use of age verification technology in our drinks led specialist stores,” said Bestway Wholesale Retail Director Mike Hollis.

“Staff abuse is rife in the convenience channel, with the Association of Convenience Stores’ 2021 Crime Report highlighting that there were over a million incidents of verbal abuse and about 40,000 incidents of violence against people working in convenience stores in the past year alone.

“We surveyed staff in our three participating stores and the responses received showed that staff abuse, particularly when it comes to the refusal to sell alcohol, is a significant issue. All participants agreed that using technology could reduce staff abuse and we believe that using the ICU screen will act as a deterrent when it comes to staff abuse.

“It will also give retailers peace of mind and ensure that they avoid prosecutions, fines, or losing their license for the miss-sale of alcohol or tobacco products.”

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