Store detectives prevent and detect theft in retail stores.
You could be:
patrolling a store during opening hours, to watch for shoplifters
using equipment such as closed circuit television (CCTV) to observe the store, two-way radio to contact colleagues, loop alarms, mirrors and electronic security tags on goods
watching customers who are acting suspiciously, or are recognised as a previous offender, and keeping notes of what you see
working undercover as a customer to watch and follow potential shoplifters
detaining suspected shoplifters, taking them to the manager’s office and possibly searching their clothes and possessions
helping other staff deal with customers suspected of credit card theft or fraud
calling the police, reporting what you have seen and being present when the police question a suspect
talking to witnesses to collect evidence and writing up reports for both the police and the retailer
occasionally giving evidence in court.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary depending on:
where you work
the size of the company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
Pay rates for store detectives vary but are often based around the National Minimum Wage. Starting pay is often based on the National Minimum Wage (NMW) or the National Living Wage (NLW).
As of 1 April 2023 the National Minimum Wage is £7.49 an hour for workers aged 18 to 20 and £10.18 an hour for workers aged 21 to 22. The National Living Wage for those aged 23 and over. is £10.42 an hour. This may rise to around £11.50 an hour with experience.
You would work indoors.
Some store detectives are employed directly by the retailer, others are employed by security companies.
You usually work a 40-hour week, on shifts which may cover seven days and include late evenings.
You may cover a number of stores, especially if you are working under cover, so would need to travel between them.
You would often work in plain clothes to avoid detection.
You do not need formal entry requirements but a good general education is useful.
You must be able to speak and write clearly and accurately.
You may require a licence from the Security Industry Authority (SIA). See SIA website for details.
If so, you must be at least 18 to comply with SIA regulations.
This can be a second career and entrants often have previous experience of work in the police, prison service or other security work.
A full clean driving licence and access to your own vehicle may be required for some jobs.
You may need to have a medical examination.
You will require a satisfactory criminal record check from Disclosure Scotland to show that you are suitable for this type of course. Contact Disclosure Scotland for details on the type you would need.
There are jobs with retail chains and with agencies. Jobs are usually advertised in the press, in Jobcentre Plus offices and on the Find a Job website (formerly Universal Jobmatch). Prospects are good in most areas and particularly good in cities with major retail shopping centres.