Store detective

Store detective

A store detective is employed to deter and detect theft in retail outlets. Store Detectives is one of many common and less frequently used terms in the retail industry. More common terms today with major retailers are Loss Prevention Agent, Detective or Investigator and Asset Protection Officer or Investigator. Special Officer, once common, is now rarely used except in jurisdictions that still allow it.

Store detectives may be self-employed on a contract basis but most are employees of the retailer, of a security firm with an outsourcing arrangement with the retailer, or of an agency with a similar agreement.

The job involves patrolling stores in the role of an ordinary shopper, watching for shoplifters. The detective follows any shopper behaving suspiciously, and keeps records of such observations. The key difference between a store detective and a security guard is that the former's role is covert. Store detectives can detain and arrest individuals they actually see committing an indictable offence such as stealing, but so can any ordinary citizen. Otherwise, store detectives have no legal right to detain people, search them or ask a person to accompany him/her to a store office.

Most stores require their detectives to have stable work histories and no criminal record. Common backgrounds include the armed services, rescue services, and security. In the UK, distance learning courses in store detection are offered by The Security Industry Training Organisation.

Additional Responsibilities of the Store Detective

Many retail companies assign the task of investigating check and credit card fraud activity as well as employee theft activity to the Store Detective. They work closely with law enforcement on such cases whether it is on the local, state or federal level. Companies also assign the Store Detective the task of seaching employee lockers and bags at random.

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