Help catching more shoplifters / getting better at the job

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Help catching more shoplifters / getting better at the job

Postby outofmind12 » 19 Dec 2011, 10:18

Ive been doing this job (retail) for about 4 months now and have not had much INDEPENDENT success with shoplifters. I have been alerted to shoplifters operating in the store by staff and have worked with them to deal with / detain / recover stolen items. But on my own, ive not had much success.

My job is in a supermarket, no CCTV... one guard at a time (except weekends)... 90% of my role is standing by the door observing people coming into the store, leaving the store, waiting for the alarm to sound, stopping banned people from entering the store. Other aspects of course include assisting with potentially violent confrontations, backing up the staff and managers, making sure the fire exits are clear and alarmed etc....

I guess I am making this post because I want to learn as much as possible and catch as many people as I can. I dont want staff / other guards (who have been doing it a lot longer) thinking I am crap because I am not catching shoplifters.

All the other aspects of my job I do fine, I have got so much better at reading body language, cooling people down when kicking off etc... and I take my job very seriously. Most of the guards who I have met (relief guards), dont take the job seriously. They turn up, stand there day dreaming all day, then go home.

I have actually been enjoying the work, enjoying learning... like I said i take it seriously and want to improve.

When I started I pretty much sucked at it, I would get bored easily and probably spend too much time talking to the check out girls, but I have since grown out of that and know when to pick the right moments to do it.

I also think the managers expect way too much from security. Especially the actual store manager, he is a right prick, but I guess its his job to be a right prick.

So anyway... now you know the detail of my job (which is a visual uniformed position, aka main role is to provide a deterrent), how can I go about catching more shoplifters. When I go to watch people (even discreetly) I have no luck, the uniform puts them right off.

Also can anyone tell me if I have the right to stop people (who have done nothing) and ask them to show me their reciept?

For example we have had quite a few push outs and attempted push outs recently. This is not helped by the fact a lot of people dont use carrier bags anymore. So they will leave the story carrying the items or pushing them in the trolley (with no bags). Its so hard to tell who to gamble on and ask for a receipt. Why are people not using carriers any more? It seems stupid.
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Re: Help catching more shoplifters / getting better at the job

Postby superstacker » 19 Dec 2011, 10:44

Well many questions to answer here...

If you are in a uniformed role, it's pretty obvious that you won't catch many shoplifters. In your role you are there to deter theft, and if that means that you are being obvious and stopping people from stealing then you are doing your job. Your performance should be measured on stock loss figures and not simply on arrests. Unfortunately a lot of store managers don't have a clue about security, and think that having a single uniformed officer is all they need to stop any theft from the premises.

If you are stood on the front door, and you have no CCTV, you will not see Selection or Concealment of items at times, therefore you will not be making arrests. It's that simple.

As for checking receipts, it shouldn't be a problem so long as you clear it with the store manager. If someone is pushing out a trolley with no carrier bags and you ask them politely to see a receipt it shouldn't pose too many problems. ALthough you have no legal right to detain someone for not having a receipt, it shows you being pro-active and will deter other potential theives.

Just remember that if you are alone, without back up, your safety comes first.
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Re: Help catching more shoplifters / getting better at the job

Postby outofmind12 » 19 Dec 2011, 14:01

That too was my understanding... "uniformed security is there to provide a deterrent" Store managers (who all think they are experts in security) disagree and expect so much more.

There was an incident last week which ended up with me looking crap at my job to 2 department managers... all because I stuck by the rules.

The incident in question... one of the managers spotted 2 guys who he had suspected of shoplifting in the past, so he started watching them. They pulled me off my lunch break saying they have 2 shoplifters in the store and they are watching them, and that they have a big bag. The first thing i asked was "have you seen them put anything in the bag? They said yes... then changed it to a "no not yet". Anyway this went on for about ten minutes until the 2 blokes paid for some items and proceeded to leave the store. The 2 managers wanted me to stop these 2 guys on the way out and search their bags. So I asked again.... have you seen them put anything in the bags? Answer... NO! So I said well the very least you can do is set the alarm off when they walk through it so I have a legit reason to approach them and kindly take a glance into the bag they are carrying, they said they would do that. Did they set the alarm off? NOPE They just let them walk out and signalled for me to stop them... I didnt, and then the 2 managers walked towards me and these 2 guys and started talking to them, grabbing the bag off them and looking inside it etc.... Of course they had nothing, but judging by their reaction and body language, they have knicked in the past and were probably looking to today.

Either way the above incident left me looking useless and crap to the 2 managers. Incidents like this annoy me, I have a lot more to lose than they do if something goes wrong. I am a contractor, I could easily get moved on or fired if the management at a store did not like me, I also have an SIA licence, if I get accused of detaining someone without reason I could lose my badge over false arrest.

It just feels like they expect way too much of you, have no idea what rules you have to play by and they dont care either. I am all for slightly bending rules from time to time in the right situations, but I will not put my own job at risk by following the direction of 2 tin pot department managers.

One of the managers in question chased after some shoplifters a few weeks ago grabbing them etc... what did he get for his trouble? He got spat and punched in the face.

I am just sick of looking bad for doing my job properly. Some of the other guards who work on the site are more inclined to bend the rules than I am, this does not help.
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Re: Help catching more shoplifters / getting better at the job

Postby Mattsmith1990 » 19 Dec 2011, 14:55

Explain the situation that YOU have to see the theft for you to do anything because you will not risk losing your job and a criminal record for them. If they have witnessed something happen then tell them you will back them up while they do it incase they kick off, but legally you can not make the arrest.
But as a uniformed role your job is to deter not catch, yes a catch is nice, but it shouldnt be getting that far.
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Re: Help catching more shoplifters / getting better at the job

Postby Mike123 » 20 Dec 2011, 12:37

Your job is to act as a visual deterrent and you are doing that by simply turning up to work.

If the store has a serious problem with theft, they would have invested in CCTV, store detectives, etc. They havn't done this so surely it isn't that bad.. this just seems like one of those stores where the clueless managers think they know it all and try to do your job as well as there own. I think every supermarket has a few of these guys, they usually end up getting thrown through a window or punched in the face by an angry shoplifter every year :lol:

Acting as a visual deterrent doesn't mean just standing by the exit though, if you notice somebody suspicious enter the store or somebody acting suspiciously in store, you can go to the same aisle as them or you can stand at the top of the aisle that they are in. You don't have to be obvious about watching them but as long as you can see what they are doing, it's alright, if it's not possible to discreetly catch them at it, you can just make them aware that you are there and watching, so it deters them. There's only so much you can do in a store like this.

I sometimes used to talk to staff so customers would see me chatting away and think i was not on the ball. While i was talking to the staff members (usually somebody stacking shelves), they whole time i was actually looking at customers and seeing how they reacted to me, some people would see me and see that i was having a nice little chat and immediately turn around and go into another aisle to try there luck.. i did this in a store with CCTV so the manager could watch on the CCTV at the same time. This helped me catch a lot of the middle class shoplifters who would come in every week to do there weekly shopping and conceal a bit of make up or chocolates, something small but a bit pricey and you would never have suspected them. These people used to steal every single week and not get caught for years, but how they react around you and the way they are always looking around always gives them away. The managers were surprised because i caught loads by doing this and most of them had been shopping in the stores for years, they were always friendly and spoke to the staff every time they were in store, nobody would have suspected them at all.

Not much you can do about the trolley push outs apart from stop and ask for a receipt if you're unsure whether they paid or not, there's nothing wrong with that as long as you're polite. If they start to question why you're stopping them in particular, just say that you have been asked to do random stop checks on customers leaving the store. (make sure you check the time/date on the receipt, the Eastern European's in particular like to flash an old receipt at you but if you look closely, it's usually dated 6 weeks ago :lol: )

Were the people who attempted push outs banned for attempted theft or did you just recover goods and let them go?? not sure on how it works in your store but i would ban them for trying that, an offense has been committed but because you have no CCTV, i would try to make a staff member aware of it just before it happens so it's not just your word against there's. If not, a member of public would do, somebody is bound to see what's going on and see you stop somebody, just ask them to wait at the side while you deal with it and take there details, just in case you need a witness (very unlikely but just to cover yourself because of no CCTV/proof)
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Re: Help catching more shoplifters / getting better at the job

Postby hippy » 21 Dec 2011, 10:00

A question for you OutofMind... Is the number of arrests you make per month/year part of your KPI's? if not, then your line management aren't interested in the amount of shoplifters you detain and I therefore wouldnt't worry about it.
Also the only way to really learn is to work with someone and watch and learn from them. Adivce given away from the store, either over a pint or via the internet is only of limited use.
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Re: Help catching more shoplifters / getting better at the job

Postby Mike123 » 21 Dec 2011, 11:13

I agree, it would be a good idea to go into the store or another of the same store on your day off and speak to another guard.
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