What Is A Store Detective?

Written by regionadmin

25th April 2023

Retail shops are often a huge hotspot for criminal activity. According to the ACS, it was reported last year that there was a 21% increase in shop theft offences reported to the police. Security guards are a popular way to protect a retail store, however, they aren’t the only security role that can effectively protect a shop; another effective way is a store detective. In this article, we will be explaining what a store detective is, whether they are allowed to search you, and review what a store detective’s duties are.

What Is A Store Detective?

A store detective is a security job who mainly works within retail premises such as supermarkets and commercial stores. Store detectives are a member of loss prevention, and their main duties are to stop theft and reduce the chances of shoplifting within retail stores.

Store Detective Responsibilities

Store detectives will have many tasks and responsibilities to undertake. Their main responsibility will be to detect potential criminals and shoplifters which they will do by completing regular patrols around a retail shop. Some other duties store detectives will have are:


  • Following shoppers or shop employees who are acting suspiciously.
  • Writing reports.
  • Giving evidence in court.
  • Stopping anyone who is leaving the store with stolen goods.
  • Working closely with the police and telling them about any incidents you have seen.
  • Taking evidence from witnesses.
  • Investigating any credit card fraud activity.
  • Conducting possible searches of employees’ bags and lockers.
  • Helping customers with any inquiries.
store detective tips

Do You Need An SIA Licence To Become A Store Detective?

A common question asked about store detectives is whether they require a security licence. And although a store detective is a job within security, whether they need a licence that has been approved by the SIA will ultimately depend on the type of job that a store detective is applying for.

It will also depend on if the store detective is self-employed or if they are working under a contract that requires you to be licenced. If a store detective is working under a contract that needs to be licenced by the SIA then they may need either an SIA security guard licence or an SIA CCTV Operator licence, if their work includes looking at CCTV footage.

How To Become A Store Detective?

Applying to be a store detective, is quite similar progress to becoming a retail security guard. To become a store detective:

  • You will need to be at least 18 years old.
  • You will need to pass enhanced background checks such as a criminal record check.
  • It is recommended that you have a good level of fitness.
  • You may need a driving licence and access to a vehicle.
  • You may need an SIA security licence if you’re working under a contract that needs to be licenced by the SIA.

When you are applying for store detective jobs there are two main methods that you can take. Below, we have listed these.

Through Taking An Apprenticeship

The first way to get a job as a store detective is through taking an apprenticeship, and this apprenticeship is a Level 3 Security first-line manager. The main entry requirement for this apprenticeship is having 5 GCSCEs which are graded between (A* at C), and these GSCES must include Maths and English.

The best way to find an apprenticeship which is suitable for a store detective job would be by looking online on the government website. And when you are looking for an apprenticeship it is important that you check it is by an approved provider.

By Directly Applying For A Store Detective Job

The second way to get a job as a store detective is by directly applying for jobs. This method is only recommended if you have previous experience. This experience could be from:


  • Working in retail security.
  • Working in the police.
  • Working in the armed forces.
  • Working at a security company.
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What Skills Are Needed To Become A Store Detective?

As store detectives will constantly be looking out for potential criminals, there are many different skills that they will need. Some of these are:


  • Having good observation skills.
  • Having good patience skills.
  • Being able to stay calm in high-pressure situations.
  • Having good team-making skills.
  • Having good customer service skills.
  • Having a good knowledge of public safety and security.
  • Being able to pay attention to detail.

How Much Do Store Detectives Earn?

According to Glassdoor, in the UK the average salary for a store detective is £26,401 per year. But this salary will often depend on the location that they are working in as busier city areas may pay more than smaller rural areas to help cover the cost of living.

store detective

Can A Store Detective Search You?

A store detective will only be allowed to search you and your belongings if you have given them your consent. If no consent is given, then they won’t be allowed to search you.

To stay updated with all the latest retail security news, check out our blog where you can find articles about why people shoplift and why UK retail outlets need more security.

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