Express journalists told they could face bag searches and CCTV over missing equipment

Express Newspapers journalists are been told they could face bag searches and security cameras because of equipment going missing.

The warning came from group managing editor Andy Taylor who said there has been "an unacceptable level of office equipment being moved or interfered with".

This was, he said, "causing a great deal of frustration to you and your colleagues at the beginning of your shifts".

In a staff email, seen by Press Gazette, Taylor said: "As you can appreciate, turning up to work to find your chair and keyboard removed causes annoyance and delays the start time of the shift, which on occasion has a knock-on effect. This includes Company property being taken off-site which is effectively theft.

"Therefore, can I remind you that the removal of equipment and/or interference with your colleagues work station is not acceptable. This includes taking/moving keyboards, mice, chairs, books, papers, pens or any other office equipment. Any member of staff or casual worker who is found to be removing any Company property without my prior permission will be dealt with in accordance with the disciplinary policy.

"In addition to this, unless you have been supplied by the Company with a specific ergonomic keyboard or mouse you MUST NOT lock generic equipment in your drawers. If you do not have a keyboard or mouse please notify the IT helpdesk, you should not take one from another work station. That said, I am aware in certain areas there is a shortage of keyboards and mice and I have placed an order which should be with us shortly to rectify this. I am sure that once we get ourselves into a position where each work station has a keyboard and mouse this situation will resolve itself naturally."

He added: "I am very keen to avoid installing cameras on the Editorial floors neither am I keen for Security to begin searching bags when staff or casual workers leave after their shift.

"However, if I don’t see this situation improving immediately I will need to take further measures which could result in the aforementioned."

Richard Palmer, Express Newspapers Father of Chapel, said he found the warning "astonishing".

In an email to Taylor and staff, seen by Press Gazette, he said: "One of the things I forgot to mention at our chapel meeting today was that you told us you had absolutely no intention of installing cameras on the editorial floors, as this would be too intrusive.

"I find it astonishing that you are raising this even as a possibility so soon after we asked the question and you were emphatic in your reply.

“Similarly, I believe any attempt to search staff or casuals leaving work would be resisted and result in a further deterioration of the mood of the workforce.”

He added: "Unless I have missed it, there doesn’t seem to be anything in the company handbook about searches so I think there would need to be considerable consultation before anything was agreed on that front.

"I know there are concerns about people’s personal property being stolen but, as you have intimated, the problem of company equipment disappearing is because there is not enough of it on the newsroom floor in the first place. So, hopefully, it will cease to be a problem when the order arrives."

Taylor told Press Gazette: "It wasn't a threat, it was a 'where do we go to stop it happening?'… It's the last thing I want to happen." He also said 20 more keyboards have been ordered for the office.

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