We are often asked exactly what it is that retail security officers do. The answer can vary greatly depending on the company providing the service and even which branch you find yourself working in, but here is a general idea of some of the duties you might encounter while protecting your local shopping mall or department store:
- Monitoring surveillance systems;
- Carding (or checking) people who enter restricted areas;
- Checking receipts at exits to ensure that everyone has paid for any items they take with them;
- Verifying licenses of employees working in sensitive areas, and arresting suspected shoplifters.
Security officers may have other duties specific to the establishment in which they work. These can include checking receipts at entrance doors, searching employee lockers and purses, performing random bag searches while on patrol, enforcing dress codes for employees who work with the public, running “loss prevention” inventories to account for untagged merchandise, untying shoelaces of customers entering certain areas (to ensure that no one is hiding anything up their pant legs or down their blouses), etc. Retail security guards are trained to question people acting suspiciously; detain them if necessary; call the police; ask customers questions about any theft suspicions; inspect packages/bags for shoplifting; use hand-held metal detectors to search bags, pockets, suitcases etc.
Retail security services are provided by guards in charge of ensuring the safety of employees and patrons in retail stores. Retail security officers also may be in charge of resolving disputes among customers, handling shoplifting incidents, detaining suspects and maintaining orderliness within stores. As a result, retail security professionals must be calm and level-headed at all times and possess good judgment and communication skills. Absolute discretion is required as well to ensure that sensitive information does not fall into the wrong hands.
What types of jobs will I have if I become a retail security officer?
While some security officers may decide to open their own storefronts as business owners or work as independent contractors instead of securing establishments as their primary occupation, some companies prefer those with previous experience working as loss prevention officers, but it’s always good to become SIA approved.
What was my training like?
Since you’ll be working in a variety of establishments, it’s important that you familiarize yourself with how each type of business is operated, including their different policies and guidelines. Failing to follow company protocol is not only against the rules but puts your role as a security officer in jeopardy. Usually, companies will offer some sort of formal training for their officers either at the corporate offices or local police stations where they teach new recruits about laws concerning theft, robbery and other offences within the state or city they operate in. You may also have to pass a certification exam before being allowed to work independently on your own. Other courses might include hostage negotiations, military techniques and arrest enforcement.