Store Detective Careers

How to become a Store Detective

What does a Store Detective do?

Store detectives are employed to minimise shoplifting. They need to be very observant, and able to identify the signs of attempted theft from a shop or store. Detectives usually work in plain clothes, although they may be working as part of a team of security officers.

Duties might include:

  • following shoppers who behave suspiciously
  • carrying out searches of suspects
  • calling the police and describing observations
  • taking evidence from witnesses
  • writing short reports
  • occasionally giving evidence in court.
Store detectives have the power to detain anyone attempting to leave the premises with stolen goods. They may also be involved in preventing the use of stolen credit cards.

There are various kinds of technology to assist store detectives in their work. The most common being two-way radios, loop alarms, mirrors, electronic tags on goods, and closed circuit television (CCTV).

What's the working environment like working as a Store Detective?

Store detectives often work long hours, including evenings and weekends. Shift work is sometimes needed, depending on the opening hours of the store.

Temporary and seasonal work is often available.

Work is indoors, and involves a lot of walking and standing.

What does it take to become a Store Detective?

To be a store detective, you should:

  • be mature, responsible and honest
  • have good observational skills
  • have strong spoken and written communicating skills
  • be able to handle sensitive situations
  • have a polite and helpful attitude
  • be physically fit
  • have the confidence to challenge or tackle people when necessary
  • be able to deal with modern surveillance systems such as CCTV and electronic tags
  • have the ability to use initiative and make quick decisions.

Store Detective Career Opportunities

Store detectives are employed in large stores – so there may be opportunities nationwide. Sometimes the work is dependent on economic factors, therefore positions may be temporary.

Many store detectives work for security companies which provide security services for retailers. It’s important to look for a reputable company, which will give you training, and reasonable pay and conditions. The British Security Industry Association (BSIA) holds a list of member security companies who have been subject to strict requirements.

Experienced store detectives can be promoted to more senior jobs, such as supervisor and security manager. It is also possible to become self-employed and work on contracts for stores.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Store Detective that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Security Industry Authority (SIA)
PO Box 9
Newcastle Upon Tyne
NE82 6YX
Tel: 0870 234 0100

Skills for Security (Incorporating SITO)
Security House
Barbourne Road
Tel: 0845 075 0111

British Security Industry Association (BSIA)
Security House
Barbourne Road
Tel: 01905 21464

International Professional Security Association
Northumberland House
11 The Pavement
Popes Lane
W5 4NG
Tel: 020 8832 7417

Facts and Stats:

  • Napoleon Bonaparte once called England a "nation of shopkeepers".

  • Consumer expenditure per head in the UK is £8,053.

  • The phrase "The customer is always right", was coined by H Gordon Selfridge.

  • The annual sales of digestive biscuits, if stacked on top of each other, would reach 275 miles high That's 4,500 times the height of Nelson's Column or 1,400 times the height of the Eiffel Tower.

  • Britain's first department store was Selfridges, which was opened in 1909.

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