Security guards loss prevention Problems with covert security guards
A large part of being a guard is deterrence and this is how security officers protect your store. When you make a decision to use covert security or plain clothes security you are in effect saying that you are focused more on arresting them rather than preventing the theft.
What this means is that you are placing your security guards in a position where they will have to identify themselves after a theft has occurred and placing them immediately in a position of risk. Your company may be held liable as providing an unsafe workplace condition.
Potential risks to security guards
The shoplifter will be surprised at a moment where their adrenalin is running the highest due to their concern for getting arrested. If the security guard comes from behind and yells 'STOP your under arrest' the offender will have a 'fight' or 'flight' response.
If the offender runs you now have a security officer chasing someone through your store and putting people at risk by getting injured in the pursuit or by the offender hurting them so they can get away. You should always approach from the side that the offender is likely to see as an escape opportunity. This will immediately stop the offender from making a flight response. Doing this requires you to be ready for a possible fight response. The ideal approach by experienced security guards causes the shoplifter to immediately surrender and become compliant without a fight or flight.
If the offender decides to fight, you now have a security guard in a high risk situation where other people don't know it is a security guard trying to arrest someone. They see two people, usually males, fighting and become involved. Thereby increasing risks to your customers again. I have seen customers get involved and break up an arrest because they thought the covert security guard is assaulting a defenseless person, who is often screaming out for help.
No matter how good the guard is, someone is going to be injured as a result of a struggle inside a retail store. Security guards should never assume that they can handle a small or thin offender based on size of the guard. When an offender is arrested they have often been arrested before and don't want to go to jail. They will see this as their last opportunity to escape and will fight hard. I have seen two strong security guards struggle to restrain a young male offender.
Over 70% of Shoplifters carry knives
Shoplifters usually carry knives for defense but also so they can steal items by opening packets and removing security tags. The knives most used a small box cutters. These knives are very sharp and small meaning that they are concealable in sleeves or pockets well.
With a quick slash from one of these an offender can, without training, cut your security officer at least two times before running off leaving the guard with deep gashes to the arms or face. It only takes seconds to pull the knife out and slash two to three times.
Tips to protect security guards
Approach from the front and give visual warning that you are a security officer
Watch the offender's hands closely and ask them to take hands out of pockets and show you their palms
Expect them to run and if you block their run, they will probably fight you to get away
Never turn your back on them at any time, ever.