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Our top tips to prevent shoplifting

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GSL Dardan, in partnership with GSL Dardan Investigations, has produced a white paper to provide top tips on how to prevent shoplifting. …

GSL Dardan, in partnership with GSL Dardan Investigations, has produced a white paper to provide top tips on how to prevent shoplifting.

For more information, visit www.gsldardaninvestigations.co.uk.

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  • 1. GSL DARDANOUR TOP TIPS:HOW TO HELPPREVENTSHOPLIFTING TOGETHER WE’RE STRONGER © GSL Dardan, 2011. Registered Office: Brooke House, John Hyrne Way, NR5 0AF. Registered in England: 4384007.
  • 2. GSL DARDAN [TOP TIPS FOR SHOPLIFTING PREVENTION]Table of Contents1. Introduction ..................................................................................................................................... 22. Learn how to use the law ................................................................................................................ 23. Training your staff............................................................................................................................ 34. How to reduce the risk of shoplifting.............................................................................................. 35. How to spot a shoplifter .................................................................................................................. 46. Shoplifter methods .......................................................................................................................... 47. How can GSL Dardan help?.............................................................................................................. 48. Contact details ................................................................................................................................ 5 1 GSL Dardan Limited. Registered Office: Brooke House, John Hyrne Way, Norwich, NR5 0AF.
  • 3. GSL DARDAN [TOP TIPS FOR SHOPLIFTING PREVENTION]1. IntroductionGSL Dardan Investigation has been assisting retailers to develop policies and procedurestohelp deal with retail theft, or shoplifting,for many years.In a recent report, published in the Sunday Times (January 2012), almost one in six Britonsnationally are now involved in shoplifting in one form or another. It has been estimated thatalmost £4.4billion worth of goods has been stolen from shops in Britain in 2011 which is anincrease of 6.2% on the previous 12 months. Items such as clothing, fresh meat and men’stoiletries are among the products most prized by thieves.In the Eastern region, Suffolk police saw an increase in shoplifting over the Christmas 2011period of 26%. Norfolk and Cambridgeshire also experienced a rise in shoplifting incidents,but on a much smaller scale. Pleasingly for businesses, 86% of all thefts did result inprosecution (Eastern Daily Press January, 2012).It is clear that although many retailers would prefer not to have to deal with theft andshoplifting incidents,it is important that staff should be trained and have clear instructionson how to handle the situation. According to The Sun newspaper (March 2011) it wasreported that 18,000 shop staff experienced physical or verbal abuse by shoplifters during2010, highlighting the need for clear guidelines and procedures to be in place.In the first instance, we believe it is important to consider the following when developingstore protocols and procedures: Is your goal to prosecute or retrieve the merchandise? Does your store have a zero tolerance policy for shoplifting? Will you prosecute shoplifters under 18 or over 65? Is there a minimum value to guide police involvement or prosecution? How will you confront and detain the shoplifter? What will you do if the shoplifter shows remorse or offers to pay? Who is responsible for calling the police? Where will shoplifters be detained whilst awaiting the arrival of the police? Will you train staff to collect evidence? Do you need assistance and support from qualified loss prevention consultants, retail guards or store detectives to help manage perceived problems?It is clear that retail theft policyshould be firm, but fair. If your store chooses not toprosecute shoplifters, word will easily get around and your store may become a target. Ifshoplifters know your store takes theft seriously and is not afraid to prosecute, manythieves will avoid stealing from your business.2. Learn how to use the lawThere are various statutory and legislative devices to help deal with retail crime and anti-social behaviour, and ensuring staff understand and use these correctly will be crucial inprotectingprofit, maintaining your reputation, and preventing loss. 2 GSL Dardan Limited. Registered Office: Brooke House, John Hyrne Way, Norwich, NR5 0AF.
  • 4. GSL DARDAN [TOP TIPS FOR SHOPLIFTING PREVENTION]GSL Dardan has qualified and experienced consultants who can design bespoke staff trainingpackages and store policies, which ensure the law is used correctly and to your advantage.Views on dealing with shoplifting differ throughout the industry. You will be required toprove someone took an item from the store without paying for it to be considered theft,and you will need at least one witness to the crime.However, understanding how to lawfully collect evidence and deal with suspected offendersneeds careful consideration and support.3. Training your staffIt has been reported that employee theft and shoplifting combined account for the largestsource of property crime committed annually in the UK. According to Crimestoppers, therehas been a sharp rise in shoplifting and there is now one theft every minute (January 2010).If the retailer does not employ loss prevention staff or store detectives, then the sales teamwill need to be trained in how to approachsuspicious persons. It is also crucial theyunderstand the law and how to interpret events as it is always possible a misunderstandinghas taken place and the person is not actually a shoplifter.Encourage staff to approach those they suspect and engage with them, asking “Can I helpyou?” Treating the suspect in a polite, discrete, yet firm and professional manner will helpyou and your store avoid allegations of unlawful arrest or discrimination.One of the easiest ways for retailers to discourage theft in a store is by taking awayopportunities to steal. A little thought into the stores layout and design can prevent theftbefore a loss occurs.4. How to reduce the risk of shoplifting Checkout: Design the store lay out so customers must pass the register area and staff to exit the store. Never leave the register unlocked or unattended. Do not display merchandise near the store exits. Tidy up: Keep the store neat and orderly. Full displays and straightened shelves allow employees to see at a glance if something is missing. View all: Use CCTV or mirrors to eliminate blind spots in corners that might hide shoplifters. Maintain adequate lighting in all areas of the store, keep fixtures and displays low for better visibility. Under lock and key: Place small, expensive items in locked cabinets or behind the counter. Rest rooms and dressing areas should be watched at all times. Keep dressing rooms locked and limit the number of items taken in by each customer. Use alarms on unlocked exits, and close or block off unused checkout aisles. Signage: Signs and posters reinforcing security messages should be used, clearly referring to the use of CCTV if appropriate. Post anti-shoplifting signs like Shoplifters will be prosecuted in clearly visible locations. Security: Use security equipment such as CCTV, security tags and two-way mirrors. Uniformed security guards are also powerful visual deterrents to the shoplifter. 3 GSL Dardan Limited. Registered Office: Brooke House, John Hyrne Way, Norwich, NR5 0AF.
  • 5. GSL DARDAN [TOP TIPS FOR SHOPLIFTING PREVENTION]5. How to spot a shoplifterUnfortunately, there is no typical profile of a shoplifter. Thieves come in all ages, races, andfrom various backgrounds. However, there are some signs that should signal a red flag forretailers. While the following characteristics dont necessarily mean guilt, retailers shouldkeep a close eye on shoppers who exhibit the following: Spends more time watching the cashier or sales clerk than actually shopping; Wears bulky, heavy clothing during warm weather or is carrying a coat unnecessarily; Walks with short or unnatural steps, which may indicate that they are concealing lifted items; Takes several items into dressing room and only leaves with one item; Seems nervous or displays unusual body language; Picks up random items with no interest or moves stock from one area to another; Frequently enters store and never makes a purchase; Large groups of juveniles enter the store at the same time and member of the group causes a disturbance to distract sales staff; Loitering within the store or just outside.Shoplifters can be placed in one of two categories: amateur or professional.Although both groups can be quite skilled at the art of stealing, professional shoplifters stealto make a living, and may use force or intimidation. Non-professional shopliftersare oftenopportunists and may be easier to spot.Shoplifters’ motives for stealing can result from the most basic of needs due to personalcircumstances to peer pressure, thrill seekers,individuals suffering from mental illness andindividuals who regularly partake in anti-social behaviour.6. Shoplifter methodsMany thieves often operate in groups of two or more (known as teaming up) to distract thesales staff while they pilfer. Shoplifters learn to take advantage of busy stores during peakhours, or they may hit at times when employees are less alert, such as opening, closing andshift changes.Hiding merchandise is the most common method of shoplifting. Items are concealed in theclothing of the shoplifter, in handbags, strollers, umbrellas or inside purchasedmerchandise. Bold shoplifters may grab an item and run out of the store, drop or switchproducts. Other methods include price label switching, short changing the cashier, andphony returns.7. How can GSL Dardan help?GSL Dardan, throughits specialist division GSL Dardan Investigations, can help businessesdevelop store protocols and procedures, as well as provide advice on electronic securitysystems that may be beneficial in reducing theft. To discuss retail crime prevention orshoplifting solutions , please contact Richard York at GSL Dardan Investigations. 4 GSL Dardan Limited. Registered Office: Brooke House, John Hyrne Way, Norwich, NR5 0AF.
  • 6. GSL DARDAN [TOP TIPS FOR SHOPLIFTING PREVENTION]8. Contact detailsTelephone: 01603 732211Email:richard.york@gsldardaninvestigations.co.ukWebsite:http://www.gsldardaninvestigations.co.ukIssue date: January 2011. 5 GSL Dardan Limited. Registered Office: Brooke House, John Hyrne Way, Norwich, NR5 0AF.

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