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What is The Role of a Retail Security Officer?

In recent months, concerns have been expressed (both inside and outside Parliament) that the government must introduce more measures to tackle retail crime.

Retail Security has never been more important and significant. According to the ‘Retail Crime Costs in the UK 2019 Report’ (by Centre for Retail Research), total retail crime loss in the UK during 2019 was £4.82 billion. FaceWatch, one of the UK’s leading facial recognition companies, stated that 34.6% of the losses resulted from customer theft in shops, adding up to £1.9bn in 2019 alone. Employee theft is also a significant aspect of retail losses from shrinkage, while retail staff now face more violence, making workplaces more vulnerable and unsafe. No matter the size, every retail business must consider implementing deterrence techniques and security equipment such as alarms and CCTV. Still, one of the most effective methods for reducing theft and preventing crime is employing or hiring an experienced retail security officer.

What does a retail security officer do?

The role of a retail security officer depends on the shop, location, footfall, security equipment and risks, however, to give you a general idea, we’ve detailed some of the primary responsibilities below:

• Acts as a visual deterrent spending the majority of their time on the shop floor
• Safely detains offenders in accordance with health and safety training
• Operates store security systems such as CCTV, alarms and EAS gates and shutters
• Investigates losses and creates incident reports
• Carries out routine patrols of the store to ensure customer safety
• Conducts shift handover procedures
• Liaises with the police and other emergency services

Theft prevention

As we’ve touched on above, the primary role is preventing theft and minimising shrinkage, so most retail security guards spend a great deal of their time observing shoppers and identifying irregular shoplifting activity. All retail security officers must hold a valid SIA Licence, whilst it’s also essential to have a passion for ensuring the public’s safety, as well as excellent customer service skills and outstanding awareness of surroundings. Retail guards must assess large volumes of people very quickly, monitoring body language to identify threats, whilst also keeping an eye on stock levels in the store and the staff, identifying unusual behaviour.

Deterring (and dealing with) anti-social behaviour

Patrols are not only useful in terms of deterring theft, but this routine duty will also minimise anti-social behaviour (ASB) in retail stores. Highly experienced security guards have a keen eye, recognising blind spots where CCTV is not available, preventing shoplifting and anti-social behaviour. They will also have the confidence to react and respond to a large variety of crimes swiftly, producing reports and passing on relevant information to police. Hiring a security guard is the most effective visual deterrent, especially when combined with extra layers of protection, such as:

• Utilising CCTV
• Placing warning signs
• Installing heavy security doors and locks
• Alarm systems
• Motion lighting
• Merchandising security stands and mounts (ideal for tech products)
• Security tags, also known as Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS)

Creating a safe and secure environment for staff and customers

With a security guard carrying out regular patrols, shoppers will undoubtedly feel safer, as will staff, which is key to the success of any workplace. We must all feel safe and secure when we arrive to work, and no other form of physical protection will match the presence of a uniformed guard. A safer workplace leads to happier and more productive employees.

Effective reporting of crime

If police are not provided with accurate information, the job of investigating crimes becomes challenging. Retail security officers are trained to produce detailed reports, carrying out the correct processes to inform the police. It’s no secret that police officers have a limited amount of time and resources for each case, and they don’t need opinions or hearsay. Therefore, clear communication between security guards and police will assist significantly with all criminal investigations.

Providing an immediate response

In addition to liaising with police, retail security guards will also have the confidence to jump into action whenever they are permitted, such as when detaining suspects using a ‘reasonable’ amount of force.

How has Covid-19 affected the role of retail security guards?

As the pandemic continues to evolve and local lockdown restrictions are imposed, it’s more important than ever to ensure retail stores are not overcrowded. Security guards across the country are now playing a pivotal role in ensuring social distancing is maintained, and face coverings are worn. They are also stepping in to help control crowds at busy times. It’s perhaps more important than ever that shoppers feel safe and secure when entering stores. Security officers will continue to inform customers of changes in the law and assist with new protocols like one-way systems, social distancing hand-sanitising, temperature checks and face coverings. For example, in recent weeks, there have been reports of long queues forming outside high-street shops, with security officers stepping in to communicate effectively with customers, ensuring social distancing is respected.

How can you hire a reliable retail security company?

Intraguard is a trusted, experienced, and SIA-licensed UK-wide security provider, providing truly tailored security solutions for shops, outlets, supermarkets, shopping centres and many other retail businesses. From minimising theft to preventing anti-social behaviour and implementing Covid-19 safety measures, our highly skilled retail security officers can play a crucial role in lessening disruption to your business.

The retail sector has been one of the hardest-hit industries, with many shops having to close their doors for long periods, whilst fine-tuning processes to respond to growing ecommerce sales. Therefore, consumer trust has perhaps never been so important, and our guards can carry out a broad range of duties to keep your environment safe and your stock secure.

If you’d like to learn more about us or wish to speak to our management team about your security challenges and our retail security services, please call us on 0207 183 5016 or send us a message and we’ll be in touch as soon as possible.