Why UK Retail Outlets Need More Security?

Written by Nyah Mallen

9th June 2022

With the number of shoplifting offences in England and Wales from 2022/23 being 342,343, it is clear that more retail security is required. In this article, we will be addressing why retail outlets require more security, how to secure a retail lease, how shoplifters can be caught, and what other services retail security guards might provide.

Why Is Security Important In Retail?

As of 2022, there is a total of 317,005 retail outlets in the UK. Each one of these outlets is subjected to the threat of crime both internally and externally, constantly. With shoplifting alone causing damages of millions of pounds per day, retail crime is on the rise and is expected to further increase due to the price increase of council tax and energy bills.

The presence of security guards helps to mitigate retail crimes, for example, those with the intention of shoplifting are often put off due to the fear of getting caught. Security can also help to put the minds of employees at ease, as they will not be responsible for attending to crimes and can continue with their jobs as per their routine. These facts alone act as a rough indicator of the importance of retail security.

why do people shoplift

What Potential Security Risks Can Arise In A Retail Environment?

Although shoplifting is the main concern for the average retail environment, other crimes can also occur. This includes crimes such as verbal abuse, physical abuse, fraud and cyber-attacks. Security guards are trained to recognise any signs that these crimes are taking place and have the knowledge to act accordingly.

How Do I Secure A Retail Lease?

There are many ways you can secure your retail store, such as installing CCTV for premises monitoring, fitting shutters to prevent break-ins, installing alarms for security outlet response, and locking away valuable products. However, the only way to effectively stop these crimes from occurring is by purchasing retail security.

So, what is retail security? This is described as the act of security guards working in stores or using technology to spot any crimes that may be actively occurring. Their main objective is to protect both staff members and customers, as well as prevent financial damages.

If a security guard spots a crime about to occur, such as someone attempting to steal, they will witness the crime, delay the criminal, and report it. This takes the stress away from employees and decreases the amount of damages to the business from theft.

how to prepare for a night shift as a security guard

How Are Shoplifters Caught?

You may be wondering what would happen if you were to be caught shoplifting, this depends on a variety of factors and what retail security guards can do.

For example, if you are young and not known for stealing, you will likely be requested to either pay for the items or return them to the store.

However, if the store has your name linked to a record of past offences, the police will likely be called, and you will be banned from the store.

How Common Is Shoplifting?

How often shoplifters are caught depends on the time and place. Shoplifting incidents happen daily with roughly only 10% of people apprehended for the offence. More and more people are starting to feel bold enough to test the waters because of this. It is estimated that 1 in 11 people are guilty of shoplifting and only half of them will face prosecution.

How Much Do Stores Lose To Shoplifting?

The cost of crime was found to have risen to a whopping £1.3 billion in 2019/20, in a crime survey. Even worse, £935 million of this loss was caused by customer shoplifting. This is a significant amount of money lost due to customer theft alone. If this was reduced by hiring security, there would be more money for retailers to put towards increasing wages and improving facilities.

how to prepare for a night shift as a security guard

What Is The Mission Of Retail Security?

As mentioned previously, there are other types of crime that take place in retail stores. Security guards will constantly be on the lookout for these types of crimes in order to mitigate them before it’s too late. Below are some examples of different types of crimes committed in retail stores:

Checkout Fraud

This is where customers may attempt various methods to circumvent paying the complete price for their purchases. Instances of such behaviour include altering barcodes, intentionally neglecting to scan or include an item during checkout, or deliberately causing damage to a product.

Refund Fraud

Fraudulent activities of a similar nature also happen at the checkout counter, where customers instead try to seek refunds for items that were previously stolen, or present fabricated receipts in exchange for credit.


Unfortunately, it is commonplace for retail employees to suffer abuse from shoppers. This includes any aggressive physical, or verbal, behaviour directed at shop workers or even other customers.


Another potential crime for retail stores is vandalism. This is the process of intentionally damaging someone else’s property and includes any type of damage to the store or its inventory.

Employee Theft

The number of theft by employees in England and Wales from 2022/23 was found to be 6,558. These types of theft frequently include cash, products, company property, or personal data.

retail security guard

So, Why UK Retail Outlets Need More Security

Retail security outlets can offer services which enable them to react to these crimes. They will have the required training to recognise any suspicious activity, keep close watch on those in the store, ensure the safety of staff and customers, and report the incident to the right people.

Security guards will also go above and beyond to be a part of the team by using good customer skills, dressing professionally, and politely approaching customers to allow others to always feel safe.

Make sure to keep up to date with the latest retail news by reading our other articles!

Want to keep up to date with the latest retail news? Why not start by reading our other articles on why people might shoplift and commonly stolen items?

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