Loss Prevention Officer Job Description
Preventing theft in retail stores is the main responsibility of Loss Prevention Officers. To do so, they typically monitor surveillance cameras and walk around the store watching shoppers while remaining as inconspicuous as possible. To that end, Loss Prevention Officers do not wear uniforms. They must also apprehend shoplifters and work with police in prosecuting these individuals.
A Loss Prevention Officer might assist in creating theft prevention plans and policies and also monitor the workplace to assess safety issues or concerns. In addition to stores, some companies might employ Loss Prevention Officers. In most cases, these companies would be in manufacturing and have warehouses of merchandise that need to be safeguarded against theft and damage. Loss Prevention Officers might also work for hotels, casinos and resorts.
Loss Prevention Officer Duties and Responsibilities
A Loss Prevention Officer must ensure the completion of a few tasks to help stores avoid theft and handle instances when it does occur. We have reviewed several job listings and found the following among the core Loss Prevention Officer duties and responsibilities.
Whether they are walking a store in plainclothes or making observations from hidden surveillance cameras, a Loss Prevention Officer must keep an eye on shoppers and company personnel to ensure that property is not being stolen. This might include the surveillance of exits and entrances, emergency exits, back rooms and delivery areas.
Apprehend and Assist with the Prosecution of Shoplifters
Detaining shoplifters is a crucial duty of a Loss Prevention Officer. Once they have observed theft from a security camera or in person, a Loss Prevention Officer will stop to question a suspect. They often contact local police to assist in this process. Loss Prevention Officers must complete all necessary paperwork regarding an incident and work with police and legal representatives in providing evidence needed to prosecute shoplifters per store or company policy. Loss Prevention Officers might often be summoned to act as court witnesses.
Loss Prevention Officers might be involved in developing and implementing security plans that are designed to prevent property loss. They might recommend where surveillance cameras are placed and what areas should be most closely monitored. In situations where security guards are also employed, Loss Prevention Officers will work with these guards about where they should be stationed and what areas should be patrolled. This aspect of the job might also include workplace safety evaluation to prevent loss resulting from employee injuries, fire or vandalism.
Loss Prevention Officer Skills
To be effective at this job, Loss Prevention Officers should be detail-oriented team players with strong leadership and decision-making skills. Strong verbal and written communication skills are essential, as Loss Prevention Officers must fill out reports, question shoplifters and speak with police. They should be in good physical condition, as this position requires a lot of walking and standing. In addition to these general skills, a Loss Prevention Officer could be expected by potential employers to possess the following skills.
Core skills: Based on job listings we looked at, employers want Loss Prevention Officers with these core skills. If you want to work as a Loss Prevention Officer, focus on the following.
- Working surveillance camera controls
- Using observational skills to watch for shoplifters
- Monitoring alarm systems
- Managing safety and loss prevention control meetings
- Conducting safety and loss prevention audits
- Recognizing unsafe working environments
- Understanding safety processes and procedures
Advanced skills: While most employers did not require the following skills, multiple job listings included them as preferred. Add these to your Loss Prevention Officer toolbox and broaden your career options.
- Provide strong customer service
- Ability to respond well to emergency situations
- Train other employees in loss prevention methods
Loss Prevention Officer Resources
It is beneficial to conduct research additional information if you are considering a career as a Loss Prevention Officer. Below, we have provided links to online and print resources about this career.
On the Web
Loss Prevention Academy – A monthly blog providing thoughts about professional practices, training requirements, investigative methods and more.
LP Innovations – A blog that provides personal insight into a wide range of loss prevention topics, from auditing to planning.
Loss Prevention Systems, Inc. – In this blog, Loss Prevention Officers can review discussions about technologies designed to help prevent theft.
Loss Prevention Foundation (LPF) – An international organization founded in 2006, LPF offers industry certification, online educational materials, publications and conferences to help support those working as Loss Prevention Officers.
Loss Prevention Industry Professionals Association (LPIPA) – An organization providing educational and networking opportunities for loss prevention and security professionals.
National Association for Shoplifting Prevention (NASP) – Established in 1977, NASP focuses on providing educational and training programs for professionals in criminal justice, loss prevention and retail.
Security and Loss Prevention, Sixth Edition: An Introduction – An extensive review of loss prevention concepts, practices and technologies. Discusses how to create and implement loss prevention and safety programs.
Contemporary Security Management, Third Edition – A look at how to develop strong managerial skills in areas of misconduct, employee theft, IT security and more.
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