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December 10, 2020


Retail is a huge industry. In the UK for 2019 alone, retail sales were estimated at around £394 billion across just under 307,000 retail outlets. On the other hand, the Centre for Retail Research carried out their annual survey of retail crime and found that crime in retail during 2019 accounted for a loss of almost £4.3 billion, rising to £5.5 billion when including staff error.

For national chains, these losses can often be factored in and mitigated but for local shops or independent businesses, retail crime can be the difference between keeping the doors open or closing the shop for good. Businesses need to work smart to get ahead of opportunistic thieves and criminals who are happy to walk off with merchandise or take a chance with break-ins or vandalism.

Finding the balance between creating a welcoming environment for good customers and ensuring the security of your store can be difficult - and certainly when considering the cost of security. But putting security to the side can soon cost you much more in losses and even the livelihood of your store, so it’s important to focus on this earlier than later.

What is Retail Security?

Retail security is the term given to any method you use to protect your store, assets and staff against threats of crime or violence. You might use one method of retail security, such as CCTV cameras, or you might use a combination of methods such as CCTV and stationed security guards. The methods for retail security you use will be largely dependent on the type of store, the size of the premises, the type of merchandise carried and where you are located in the country.

If you run a local corner shop in a small village, you probably don’t have the cash flow or enough risk to justify implementing an all-singing, all-dancing security system with CCTV, security guards and alarm response services. A solution here may well be to have mobile patrols by security officers at random times during the times the premises are closed or have no occupancy.

However, if you are a jewellery store located on a busy city high-street somewhere like Birmingham, retail security is going to be a primary concern and the risk is enough to justify a comprehensive security solution.

Security services come in various levels and solutions, depending on your retail requirements but they all share a core focus;

  • To deter thieves
  • To detect a theft
  • To prevent criminals from striking again
  • To get a rapid response from the necessary emergency services

The level of security you choose will also depend on when you need security in place. A smaller store may only need overnight security when the premises is unmanned, whereas a larger store will probably want a security service that runs around the clock.

How do I Know What Retail Store Security I Need?

Planning your store security effectively using risk assessments is the best way to determine the level of security you need for your premises. Risk assessments will help you identify areas of concern, such as blind spots and opportunities for criminal activity, i.e. unattended till points face a risk of under-ringing or card-skimming. While helping you weigh up the risk vs. security cost and identify the best placement for high-value goods around your store.

A comprehensive risk assessment example for a newsagent is available from the Health and Safety Executive and explores in detail how to identify the risk, who is most at risk from the threat and what action needs to be carried out to reduce the risk. Risk assessments can help you prioritise security concerns if you are working to a strict security budget and also inform your staff to their responsibilities during their employment.

What Risks Does my Retail Store or Business Unit Face?

The security risks in your store/unit may not always be obvious, for example, many managers will know the threat of shoplifting but may negate the threat of vandalism, which can also be a big area of loss for retail businesses. If you or a manager are worried about not effectively carrying out a risk assessment, seek the advice of a professional security service who can identify potential areas of concern in your premises.

Other risks that should be taken into consideration include;

  • Fraudulent activity
  • Threats against staff
  • Organised crime
  • Social engineering crime
  • Lone worker protections
  • Staff health and wellbeing

What Protections Can I Put in Place?

There are several security methods that we have briefly touched on in this guide such as CCTV and security guards, but you aren’t limited to these services. Retail security in the UK covers a variety of services which can be tailored to meet your business requirements, including;

Keyholding and Alarm Response

Keyholders in retail are a common occurrence. One or several people are tasked with the responsibility of locking and unlocking the building and being the first point of contact for emergency services should there be a break-in to the premises. Many businesses are choosing to move away from internal keyholders, however, due to the increased risk for lone workers and rising insurance premiums. Instead, opting for professional keyholding and alarm response services that provide peace of mind for out of hours alerts. This also saves businesses having to find cover for sickness and annual leave or struggling to find a local keyholder who is happy to react at all hours.

What is a Keyholder Position in Retail?

Keyholders in retail are often managers who are responsible for opening or securing the premises at the start and end of the day. They can stand in as manager if there is no other management available and occasionally have additional responsibilities including cashing up, making bank runs, managing staff schedules and general overseeing of the store.

Retail Security Officers

Working together with managers and staff to ensure the ongoing security of shops and retail outlets. Retail security officers receive quality training in the handling of shoplifting and suspicious activity in the retail sector to be able to react swiftly with minimal disruption to your store. Fully-uniformed, retail security officers can be stationed in the store to act as a further visual deterrent and on regular patrols or within CCTV control rooms to provide additional overwatch for your premises.

CCTV Monitoring

The modern security solution, CCTV cameras can be ideal at providing evidence of a crime but unless you signpost and make it clear that CCTV is in use in your premises, it doesn’t provide much of a deterrent when compared to retail security solutions such as security guards and mobile patrols. CCTV monitoring is a combination of a traditional CCTV system and active monitoring with a trained operator providing around the clock surveillance for your retail store. This can be an ideal way of identifying suspicious behaviour in the act and preventing crime through audible warnings and notification that emergency services have been contacted.

Mobile Patrols

If you own a close network of premises, a mobile patrol could be a site-wide solution for peace of mind security. Fully-licensed patrol vehicles and uniformed officers perform regular patrols without a discernable schedule to prevent criminals from waiting for an opportunity to strike. Blind spots and attractive areas or storage facilities can be tagged using the patrol guard tag system which tracks security personnel as they move through the site and records their presence with regular ‘check-ins’.

Retail Security and Loss Prevention from Taybar Security

Investing in security solutions for your retail premises will not only provide peace of mind when the store is unstaffed but will ensure ongoing protection against criminal activity. Don’t leave your security to chance, protect your assets, staff and premises today and invest in a quality security solution.

Get in touch with our team on 08453 454542, emailing us on enquiries@taybar.co.uk or complete our contact form for a free quote from a Taybar Security specialist.

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