Food delivery app Deliveroo will offer riders the option to receive training in how to spot crimes, the company announced last week.
The training will be offered in partnership with Neighborhood Watch, a UK-based crime prevention organization comprised of a number of small local chapters. According to a joint press release sent to Motherboard, participating riders will be trained to spot, among other things, drug dealing, street harassment, and human trafficking.
The press release also claimed that more than 1,000 of the 50,000 Deliveroo riders in the UK have signed up for the free training, which has been certified by the London Metropolitan Police.
“Deliveroo riders carried out a vital role in their local communities during the pandemic and are well-placed to spot any concerns in the neighborhoods in which they work and live,” the release reads.
In a separate email, a spokesperson from Neighbourhood Watch told Motherboard that the training would consist of a series of animated videos offered over a period of six months.
Are you a Deliveroo rider who has participated in Deliveroo and Neighborhood Watch’s crime spotting training? We’d love to hear from you. You can contact Gabriel Geiger securely on Signal at +31 6 36 01 08 68 or email email@example.com
A Deliveroo spokesperson confirmed to Motherboard that riders will not receive extra compensation or pay for completing the training. Instead, riders will have the opportunity to promote “the partnership on their delivery bags after they have completed the training.”
The announcement comes just months after Deliveroo riders went on strike to protest poor working conditions and low pay as the company made its debut on the London Stock Exchange. In March, an analysis conducted by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism of thousands of invoices from Deliveroo riders found that nearly half of riders were making below minimum wage.
The Deliveroo spokesperson also claimed that the IWGB—a trade union for couriers and delivery riders—had “specifically called for Deliveroo to introduce this,” and attached an image of the union’s alleged demands. Active bystander training, one of the six subjects covered by the training, is listed in the image, but spotting drug dealing and human trafficking are not.
In an email to Motherboard, however, an IWGB spokesperson wrote that the solution “is definitely not more policing” and that riders are “already subject to disproportionate police stop and search and immigration checks.”
“We condemn the initiative to get couriers policing and call for bystander training in its own right,” Alex Marshall, IWGB President, said. “Deliveroo needs to do more to protect its workforce and sexual harassment is a huge issue that needs the full attention of the company- not to be rolled into yet another PR stunt.”
In the past, police and immigration officers have explicitly targeted Deliveroo riders. On May 18, the Road and Transport authority publicly boasted on Twitter that it had stopped 48 delivery riders in coordination with immigration officials, arresting two of them.
Update: This post has been updated with comment from IWGB.