Callum Parsons one of the directors at Infinite Security Circle explains how to effectively prevent the loss of stock and how the role of a retail security officer should be carried out with compliance of law and number one YOUR PERSONAL SAFETY)
Retail crime is currently increasing rapidly, the overall cost of retail crime is now more than £700 million each year, a 6 per cent increase in 12 months according to the British Retail Consortium’s.
More staff and customers are also facing the threat of violence when criminals are being challenged or stop. The rate of violence with injury is now 6 per 1000’s workers. A very frightening figure to say the least.
Staff shouldn’t have to be a subject to threat or violence, with the right measurements in place, retailers can reduce the chances of coming to contact with threat and violence by having trained security guards.
Ins and Outs protect yourself
With demand for longer hours and higher expectations, with the pressure of dealing with threat, violence or even physical intervention. The role of a retail security officer has become increasingly more demanding, but that’s not the only frightening aspect. Both retailer and security officers also lack knowledge of the law (something which all officers should know but don’t stay refreshed upon). A serious issue which is not being addressed to loss prevention staff both external or internal, which can result in prison or hefty compensation.
Most common encounter within a loss prevention officer crime would be theft, but what is theft? The dishonest appropriation of property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it.
It’s easier to deter the crime, then wait until the crime is committed.
Some retailers prefer to “catch and prosecute” than to deter the crime itself.
Why is it more beneficial to deter than arrest a shoplifter?
- Reducing the risk of physical injury and sometime verbal/threatening abuse
- Avoids public attention
- Reduces hours wasted on waiting for police attendance and evidence gathering
- Prevents having to attend future court cases or potential suing if things went wrong (money cost)
So how can you prevent?
- High Visual Presences, wearing a high vis alerts people
- Actively patrol, particularly vulnerable areas (hotspots)
- Known shoplifters, written banning agreements. Verbally refuse them entry to store (politely and calmly) Don’t be rude or abrupt as this can create a reaction
- Warning signage, CCTV in operation, shoplifters will be prosecuted
- Look for people going equipped, eject anyone with foil line bags or items similar of
However, if you do find yourself in a position which you have to question, or arrest a shoplifter remember simple steps and protect yourself.
Be sure the person has committed theft, once they leave the premises and you need to question them. Ensure you
- Identify yourself
- Inform them of what you have seen i.e. items taken
- Request – Ask them to return to store for you
Remember, you have no powers of search, this must be completely voluntary from the person you have requested to open their bags to obtain the items stolen back.
If the person has been found to have stolen items on them, its down to you what you want to do next. Issue them a banning order? Or if you want them arrested, ensure you PLACE THEM UNDER ARREST! It sounds weird at first, people often react in a way of (I’m not a police officer). However, you are temporarily depriving them of their human rights, therefore follow this script.
” I am a Security Officer”
” I have just seen you …”
” I am arresting you,”
” On suspicion of…”
” The arrest is necessary because…”
BE SMART SAFE!
Is the arrest necessary, will it involve physical intervention, ratio 2-1, is it safe to do so, consider your safety first, then the public and other staff members, do you have the resources to deal with an arrest. DON’T ACT UPON SOMETHING YOU PHYSICALLY CAN’T COMPREHEND.
Find a safe place to take the shoplifter you have arrested, ALWAYS BE ON VIEW ON CAMERA, know your work area. It can be wise to invest in body warn cameras with audio ability. Keep creating 360 dynamic risk assessments and ensure your safety amongst other staff are always considered.
You should have a personal notebook or a daily occurrence report on site, write from start to finish with every little detail (use it) it’s there to protect you.Tags: Man Guarding, Retail, Retail Security, Security, Security Guard
This post was written by Callum Parsons