The important And Varied Roles Of Shopping Centre Security Guards

The largest shopping centres in the world easily attract tens of thousands of visitors per day. In fact the Chadstone Shopping Centre (reputed to be the largest in the southern hemisphere) based in Melbourne is reputed to attract 68,000 shoppers on a busy day. On a conservative estimate of half that number, that’s still a staggering 10 million plus visitors a year. The problem is that when you have so many people in one place there’s always the potential for things to go wrong. For this reason security guards have a big part to pay in making sure shopping centres are safe and secure and above all, pleasant environments for all concerned.

So what roles do they carry out?

More often than not, security guards based in large scale shopping centres aren’t there primarily to keep a close eye on the people within. Instead they often act as part of a larger team in charge of building security. They might also be expected to be involved in health and safety and work with external agencies to develop and improve security policies. Finally they might also be involved in training individual store teams on how to maintain a better security presence.

With this in mind, let’s take a brief look at what can go wrong at shopping centres and how security teams can help.

Terrorism attacks

In the wake of the tragic attack on the Westgate Shopping Centre in Nairobi in September 2013 where 67 innocent victims lost their lives, many shopping centres realise that they too could become potential targets. This is particularly true in the run-up to Christmas and other public holidays where large quantities of people gather. As a result more emphasis is being placed on security. Therefore being up to date with the latest counter-terrorism regulations and monitoring suspicious activity both inside and around the shopping centre is key to terrorism prevention.

Lost children

Completely different to terrorism, but equally as frightening for the child in question or indeed the parent who has lost their child, most larger shopping centres have a procedure for missing children. This is something that a security guard plays a key part in. They are often the first line of contact for a stricken parent should their child go missing. Once reported a trained shopping centre security guard will have a procedure in place that they then follow. This includes obtaining as many details as possible such as

  • What the child is wearing

  • What they look like

  • How old they are

  • When they were last seen

and then passing this information (if needs be) to the right authorities who can act quickly.


As our economy is still recovering it’s not surprising that theft (particularly from retailers) is on the increase. In fact according to one survey, the direct cost of shoplifting to Australian retailers in 2013 was $990 million. This is why retailers and the staff that work in them are encouraged to be more vigilant. Although security personnel don’t usually work in individual stores, their presence in and around shopping centres is often enough to act as a deterrent. In addition security companies are being asked to act in more of a training capacity through a process of training and education to store-based personnel.

If you’re looking for commercial retail security guards then you might want to speak to MA Services Group. We’ve been in the industry for many years and supply security personnel for a wide range of situations throughout Victoria and beyond. This includes the retail sector. Why not contact us on 03 9994 4107 to see just how we can help.

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