Despite the advancement in the technology of surveillance equipment, shoplifting continues to plague the retail industry. In fact, it’s thought that both internal thefts from employees and external theft from customers (particularly from organised shoplifting gangs) are costing each Australian household around $424 AUD per year. For this reason, many stores and/or retail outlets are hiring loss prevention officers to try to stem the flow of stock and monetary losses.
So what exactly is a loss prevention officer and what do they do on a day to day basis? Let’s take a closer look…
While loss prevention officers are part of the security team, they aren’t normally uniformed guards who patrol in and around stores. Instead, they can normally be found in the back office monitoring surveillance equipment and watching for any suspicious activity. That said they can also be seen (or not as the case may be) in plain clothes wandering around a store looking for anything suspicious which might indicate that shoplifting activity is occurring.
Their principle role
The principal role of an LPO of course is to prevent store theft and they might be required to monitor suspicious customers for instance, but in addition, they might be asked to closely watch store personnel (particularly those who are on till points) who might be knowingly undercharging friends and/or family. In addition, an LPO might also be called in to adopt a training role, where they teach other members of staff to detect shoplifting activity.
While most security companies can offer hints and tips to companies on how they can tighten up their security, it makes perfect sense that Loss Prevention Officers are asked to assist retail store managers with their security planning. After all, they should have a good understanding of the retail industry and more importantly, what makes for best security practices. For this reason, part of their job is to work with store managers to enhance their security.
Dealing with people
LPO’s need to be able to deal with people in a professional but fairway. They must avoid jumping to decisions based on stereotypes and be experts in both integrity and diplomacy. They’ll also be trained in how to deal with the police and how to write up reports.
LPO’s (Loss Prevention Officer) and your store
Look on LPO’s as part of a larger security team, yes, but they’re also your eyes and ears, leaving you to get on with other important jobs such as dealing with customers and running the business. A good LPO will make a difference from the start but in the long-term, the monetary gains and reduced stock losses will have a larger impact on the success of your business and eventually your bottom line.
If you’re a retail outlet suffering unexplained losses then you might want to consider hiring a Loss Prevention Officer. At MA Security our LPO’s are highly trained professionals with proven industry experience. Give us a call on 1300 020 406 to find out more about how we can help you today.