Despite sharing a number of similarities, the roles of store detective and retail security guard are actually quite different. Sometimes carrying the job title of loss prevention officer, a store detective requires a particular set of skills to be successful. Some of the required skills, along with a few of the main differences between the two roles, are listed below.
The Required Skills
Whereas a traditional security guard needs to be very visible to the general public to act as a deterrent, the opposite applies to store detectives. A good retail store detective will be able to blend in with the overall customer population and not attract any attention. This requires the ability to be able to act as naturally as possible while simultaneously observing suspicious behaviour. It should go without saying that good observational skills are one of the key requirements to be a good store detective, along with a very good memory. Being able to remember small details will come in handy in those instances where evidence is required in court. In order to complete incident reports and give verbal evidence, it is an advantage to possess strong communication skills, both written and verbal.
In the main, retailers employ store detectives to minimise instances of shoplifting. In addition to working incognito out on the shop floor, detectives will also often work alongside the store manager, advising on other areas of security such as CCTV systems. Occasionally, a store detective will be called upon to detain a suspect. Although it is usually the security guards who do this, plain-clothes store detectives will also need to be comfortable handling situations such as the one reported recently in the Shropshire Star newspaper.
Security Guards in Dublin
Just as it is with security guards, an official SIA licence is required in order to work as a store detective. There are a number of organisations, such as Dublin security guard company Cuff Group, which provide specialist training courses for those wishing to obtain their SIA and work as a store detective. Reputable companies, such as the Cuff Group, will usually be members of the British Security Industry Association.
For those possessing both the right set of skills and a determination to succeed, a career as a store detective can be a highly rewarding one.