How the role of a retail security officer has changed

How the role of a retail security officer has changed

Security officers are a regular sight in stores and always have been. This is particularly the case for both supermarkets and larger shopping complexes, as well as in individual stores. They’re a vital part in the support system if ensuring that not only staff are kept safe, but minimising the risk of theft and therefore store profitability.

However, COVID-19 has changed a lot about how the security sector operates, and we have had to adapt to the new environment. There are two key ways in which the role of security staff in the retail sector has changed, that of the increase in the use of technology- particularly self-service checkouts, and in the increased need to monitor customer behaviours.

Increase in technology

There has, of course, been a general increase in the use of technology over the last few years, and we have implemented this at CSS Ltd when needed, particularly when it comes to supporting our security teams remotely.

Covid-19 has greatly increased the use of technology, and this has seen an increase in the use of self-service checkouts. For security teams, this increases their need to be vigilant, as it is easier for customers to intentionally fail to scan certain items or scan cheaper items in place of more expensive ones. Add to this the ever-popular option to reduce waste and therefore opt to not require a receipt, and you have a security guard having awkward conversations with customers they suspect have stolen goods, without the ability to provide a receipt. It becomes a much more complex scenario than looking for suspicious behaviour and shoplifting.

Monitoring behaviour in retail stores

Following on from the above point of monitoring behaviour, we have the changes that social distancing have bought into play. It now falls to the security team at a retailer to ensure that social distancing measures are being kept to. This means customers respecting the 1 meter plus rule, wearing face coverings, sanitising their hands where appropriate, monitoring the number of customers in the shop, and following one-way systems around the store. This might be supported with the additional use of CCTV cameras, as well as patrolling the store, and even undercover security personnel.

It also becomes even more important to look for shoplifters. The use of face coverings means identities are much harder – well, pretty much impossible – to recognise via CCTV, so a person needs to be caught in the moment and detained until the local authorities to arrive.

As you can see, the role of a security officer in the retail sector has changed drastically since the threat of Covid-19, and these responsibilities are likely to change and adapt as and when new measures come into place.

For more information on how we can work with you to provide a quality security service at your business during these unusual times, please don’t hesitate to get in touch a member of our team.

Alternatively, if you’re looking to further your career within the security industry, please check the careers section on our website or email us an up to date copy of your C.V. We look forward to meeting you.

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Nick Carter

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