Protecting retail Outlets Against Criminal Activity

Figures suggest that crime in the retail industry has risen in recent years. With the number of incidents steadily increasing, the industry needs to work as a team to implement prevention strategies.

In 2012-13, crime cost retailers approximately £511m. This was a 166% rise on figures from 2007-08. Theft was also found to be at a nine year high.

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One of the priorities for the British Retail Consortium (BRC) is to promote growth and innovation through responsible retail.  As such they compile an annual report, detailing crime figures. The report, known as the Retail Crime Survey, is aimed at helping the industry to better understand how crime can impact upon the retail community and the economy as a whole.

Protecting Retailers Against Increased Levels of Crime

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) and the British Retail Consortium (BRC) work together to provide help and advice to the retail industry, with the aim of rescuing and preventing crime. They suggest a range of measures that retail outlets can take, including:

Employing Experienced Security Services

Agencies providing security, such as cuff group security, can offer a range of skilled services. Working in partnership with retail outlets, experienced security providers can significantly reduce incidences of crime.


CCTV can benefit retail outlets in a number of ways. Besides offering increased safety and protection, they are also a strong deterrent to criminals. If an incident does occur, CCTV can be used to identify when and where a crime has taken place and very often will also enable perpetrators to be positively identified. CCTV footage can be used as evidence in a Court of law.

The retail industry has both internal and external threats and 24 hour monitor can help identify and prevent these.

Security Staff

Security guards play an important role in keeping crime within the retail industry to a minimum. Their presence offers peace of mind to both store staff and customers. Working under specific Codes of Practice, security staff may be Store Detectives or Uniformed Guards. Both types of security agent offer a number of benefits to the store in which they operate.

Store Detective – Typically operating in plain clothes undercover, the store detective is able to identify behaviour which is suspicious.

Uniformed Guards – Uniformed guards are often employed as a deterrent, to prevent criminal activity. They will have a strong presence in and around the store.

Undercover and uniformed security agents are typically highly trained to ensure they have the skills necessary to handle various situations. They may specialise in areas such as counter-terrorism, handling explosives, risk assessment and security psychology.

Security guards will develop an in-depth knowledge of the store and retail areas in which they operate, including shift patterns, staff and any regular visitors or sub-contracted employees. They will work alongside store management to put in place preventative measures and to professionally handle security breaches when they arise.


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