I saw Robocop in Morrisons and I am Furious say the papers. It's true that I not impressed

Robocop in Morrisons copyright Mark Powlett

Yesterday I tweeted a picture of what looked like Robocop in Morrisons. The rise of the virtual security guard is upon us.

The papers picked up on my tweet and it has appeared around the world suggesting that I am furious about being branded a criminal. That wasn't really the point I was making but that's what happened when journalism is about cutting an pasting.

As you will read this is something that was picked up by newspapers like The Sun and The Daily Mail and the Daily Express and ...I am losing count now!! ... who lifted my picture and used it without permission. Of course they can't even answer the questions "Where did Mark Powlett spot this Robocop? Which branch of Morrisons?" It's easier to just make news clickbait from lifting tweets nowadays, but I digress..

Customer service seems to be getting worse and my tweet was intended to be humorous when I clearly know exactly why these machines are appearing. Whilst the stores would have us believe that these are helping to deter shoplifting, they are really just another excuse for them to reduce the number of staff. I used to love going to the supermarket, strange though that seems to many people when I mention it.


Yesterday, I picked up my shopping, scanned it myself, put it back in the trolley and then even wheeled the trolley back to the parking area. I often feel like I am an unpaid member of staff. I can’t be the only person who feels that when I am packing my groceries I am expected to work faster to keep the queues down. It reminds me of Alan Partridge when he finds that he has a natural talent for working the tills. However, unlike Alan, I feel like a 17 year old on a Saturday job who doesn’t even feel that going into the staff room at break time.


I can’t help but wonder why much of the backlash I received was from people suggesting that I should only be affected if I was guilty. I look back and realise I have never taken so much of a packet of sweets as a child without paying. I once accidentally picked up two copies of the beano and when I got home I raced back to return the one that was secreted inside the one I had paid for. I am not designed for crime.


I actually used to enjoy walking round the supermarket, drifting in my own thoughts and taking in all the sights colours, smells and sounds. I like seeing what is available and being inspired to buy and try new things. Isn’t that what shopping is about? It may just be a supermarket shop but I found it pleasurable. Now though I am filmed walking past the drinks aisle and my face is boxed in green on a screen that watches me scan my own groceries.


Perhaps it’s time for me to go online after all.

The Sun and the Daily Mail don't really represent my feelings about this. What I think is that big companies are cutting staff and making services worse to increase profits. We all know the cost of food has soared over the last couple of years.

Anyway, as the papers tend to just copy and paste each others stories word for word here is how they framed my one tweet into a story...


‘You make customers feel like criminals’, shoppers fume as Morrisons unleashes ‘robocop’ cameras in supermarket aisles

The devices are equipped with a state-of-the-art 120db siren system to alert against thieves.

MORRISONS is using ‘robocop’ cameras in supermarket aisles to stop customers from stealing expensive booze.

It installed branded Safer Pod S1s next to alcohol as a deterrent against the shoplifting epidemic plaguing Britain.

The stationary four-legged safety devices are equipped with HD cameras and a state-of-the-art 120db siren system to alert against thieves.

They are powered by a solar panel battery and can be moved around the store to problem areas while operated by a control room via an app.

Morrisons is currently reviewing the results of their trial in "a handful" of stores over the Christmas period.

One CCTV monitoring station was seen stationed next to premium whisky on Monday with the warning “we’re keeping an eye on things to keep your store safe”.

It was spotted by customer Mark Powlett, of Redditch, Warwickshire, who compared the new security system to the cyborg law enforcer in 1987 film RoboCop.

He wrote on X/Twitter: “Wow Morrisons how welcoming Robocop feels. I'm typing this as I wait for the one member of staff covering all the self service tills.

“I'm also being filmed there because actually paying staff to work when you can just make customers feel like criminals is lovely isn't it?”

But Paddy Lillis, general secretary of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW), said: “There is no doubt that cameras do have a deterrent effect and we are supportive of such measures aimed at reducing violence, threats and abuse at work.

"To act as a deterrent to would-be attackers, the public must be fully aware they are in use and there must be a police response where incidents do occur.

"Retail staff are an important part of our communities, their role must be valued, respected and protected.”

The award-winning pods are usually found on building sites to provide a 30-metre wide 360 degree detection zone continually scanning for intruders.

It is understood to be the first time one of the devices has been used inside a supermarket, paving the way for future use in other stores if deemed successful.


Expanding into the retail sector comes as reports of store thefts in England and Wales were up 25 per cent in the past year, according to ONS data revealed in October.

A Morrisons spokesman said: “We launched the Safer Pod 1 initiative in a handful of our stores over the Christmas period and we are currently reviewing the results.

“The aim of this was to deter crime while also helping to ensure the safety of our colleagues and customers."

A spokesman for Safer Group added: "We have been working alongside Morrisons to trial the Safer POD S1 over the Christmas period.

"The device is a cutting-edge, intruder detection system to enhance the safety and security of Morrisons' stores.

"The Safer POD S1 is designed to act as a deterrent to potential shoplifters by providing an additional layer of safety in high-risk areas such as the alcohol aisle.”

Who saw the Robocop secutity device in Morrrisons?

That was me Mark Powlett, just a normal man who really is not as annoyed as the papers are making out. I simply think that more staff should be paid instead of us shoppers doing all the work. According to The Daily Mail: ' Mr Powlett, of Redditch, Warwickshire, accused the shop of making customers feel like criminals, writing on X: 'Wow Morrisons how welcoming Robocop feels. I'm typing this as I wait for the one member of staff covering all the self service tills.

What was the backlash all about.

The retail gazette reported: Morrisons 'RoboCop' style security cameras trial has sparked a backlash among some shoppers who claim the new devices have left them feeling “like a criminal”. The supermarket has introduced the portable CCTV devices along its alcohol aisle as part of its latest initiative to tackle a rise in shoplifting.

The Sun suggested that I was a Furious shopper:

SHOP-POCALYPSE ‘You make customers feel like criminals’, shoppers fume as Morrisons unleashes ‘robocop’ cameras in supermarket aisles. The devices are equipped with a state-of-the-art 120db siren system to alert against thieves

Mark Powlett

Mark Powlett Hypnotherapy