Every year, businesses lose billions of dollars worth of stock and assets due to theft and errors. These include internal losses associated with employee theft, skimming, larceny and external losses due to shoplifting, organized retail crime, and so on. With proper loss prevention measures, companies can reduce their losses drastically and create a sense of safety within the premises.
Loss prevention officers can help you minimize the incidents of theft while allowing you to remain ahead of the techniques and trends used by criminals. They employ a variety of strategies to prevent people from stealing from your business. Depending on your needs, you can hire uniformed or plainclothes officers, working full-time or part-time to rove the premises. They can observe and monitor employee and customer actions, and document and report on any suspicious activities.
Loss prevention officers can operate in a variety of environments, including:
- Parking zones
- Manning parking meters
- Retail stores
- Industry undercover operations
With their training and experience, they are able to understand many common tricks used by thieves and criminals, as well as:
- Deter and stop shoplifters from stealing your items
- Prevent unsavoury employees from stealing petty cash or inventory
- Observe and track suspicious persons
- Defend against career criminals specializing in credit card fraud and covert pilfering
- Apprehend and arrest offenders
Here are the main reasons to hire loss prevention officers:
1. Deter and prevent crime
Obviously, the primary objective of any loss prevention strategy is to prevent loss using dedicated resources—in this case, the hired loss prevention officers. These professionals use their training to prevent loss, reduce shrink, and grow overall profitability using dedicated resources and customized controls (proper policies and procedures). They target areas of the business that incur a loss, such as shoplifting, safety, cash control, inventory control, point of sale, employee theft, and so on.
Various strategies can be utilized to effectively deter and prevent theft and losses, such as:
- Implementing surveillance technologies and procedures. CCTV, or Closed-Circuit Television Systems, are more effective when used to complement floor prevention personnel and loss prevention officers to monitor the cameras.
- Stopping inside theft. Employees or insiders are responsible for some of the most devastating business theft cases, causing losses in huge volumes. Loss prevention officers are trained to be on the lookout for any suspicious activity to ensure that your valuable merchandise and earnings are not lost through employee schemes.
- Improved inventory management. Effective inventory management is key to the success of any retail-based business. Every item in your inventory needs to be sold at a markup to make a profit. Using a loss prevention officer to eliminate or mitigate damage, loss, and theft while facilitating the effective monitoring and management of your stock can help maximize your profits.
- Ensuring compliance toward established policies and procedures. Every business designs best practices to assist in operations, sales, merchandising, and other business functions. Hiring loss prevention officers to support these measures and audit the various policies can help to prevent potential losses from negligence or alteration of procedures.
- Damage control. Besides theft, loss prevention officers can help to prevent the destruction or damage to your merchandise through acts of vandalism or even careless handling by employees and reckless customers. Such losses can be just as costly as theft, and any needless damage should be prevented using skilled surveillance and talented officers.
- Pre-screening job applicants. You can prevent losses if you don’t have a thief working for you in the first place. Loss prevention officers can assist with pre-screening applicants before hiring by checking references, criminal record searches, and even performing credit checks where necessary. Any red flags can be investigated further before hiring.
2. Catch shoplifters and thieves
Losses from theft and shoplifting can quickly run a retail business to the ground, whether it is an independent store or retail chain. Hiring skilled and experienced loss prevention officers can help to identify potential shoplifters and thieves, stopping crimes even before they occur. But in some cases, the criminal activities are meticulously planned and involve multiple people. Loss prevention officers can conduct follow-up investigations to reveal the roots of the crime, catch all the people involved, and prevent similar crimes in the future.
3. Cultivate a sense of security
Some businesses hire loss prevention officers to assist in training their employees on security matters, or simply to develop a security-conscious environment. This can be achieved in various ways, including the evaluation of camera placement on the premises, security tagging, and making recommendations where loopholes exist in the security measures. The loss prevention officers may also collaborate with your store personnel to create better policies and procedures that will help to minimize theft. With their training and expertise, the officers can help to alleviate much of the stress that comes with running a storefront by introducing measures to prevent theft from both shoplifters and dishonest employees.
4. Train staff
When it comes to preventing losses in your business, the officers that you hire will have to work with your employees to achieve success. As such, any loss prevention strategy also aims at training the staff on various theft prevention techniques, as well as what and where to focus on for anything that might cause the store to lose money or inventory. Moreover, as the loss prevention officers develop preventative measures through controls, policy, and procedures, the workforce will also be educated and become aware of these loss prevention measures. The education should be viewed as part of the overall business, rather than a branch of operations that is utilized by specific personnel. This must be in all risk areas, including store and field management. To assess the understanding of employees, some of the staff may be included in meetings, store audits, or other discussions together with the loss prevention officers, to make it a thorough endeavour for the entire organization.
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