Bestway Joins The Age Verification Trials

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The company joins other retailers which are already taking part in the government ‘Sandbox’ pilot scheme

Bestway has joined a British government-backed trial of AI age verification in partnership with identity tech firm Innovative Technology. The company joins other retailers including the Co-op, Tesco, Aldi, Asda and Morrisons, and nightclubs, which are already taking part in the government ‘Sandbox’ pilot scheme that was launched last month.

The ICU verification technology is installed alongside the point of sale, with consumers who consent can take part in having their photo taken by a camera embedded in the trial stores’ checkout. The software then uses an algorithm to determine their age – once a customer is scanned, the screen will flash green if they are above 25 or red if 25 or under, alerting staff that further age verification is required, before automatically deleting the photo. During the trial, humans are still required to check customers’ ages, in accordance with the law, but it says technology has exciting potential use cases in retail, particularly when it comes to protecting staff from abuse.

“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,” said Mike Hollis, Retail Director, Bestway Wholesale.