I remember responding to a number of shoplifting calls back when I was a police officer. One local store in particular seemed to have a lot of recurring issues with shoplifters, so I used to see a lot of the same faces working as Loss Prevention Agents when I’d respond.
Most of the time, the agents had a person in custody and had conducted a prelimnary interview. They would show me the surveillance camera footage and review their interview notes with me before I made contact with the suspect.
It never really crossed my mind how exposed these agents were when they made first contact with the offenders. Other than the documentation provided by the store’s cameras, they had no tools on their belts and no way to defend themselves (other than their bare hands) if things escalated.
My wake up call came when I read about a story out of New York where a man was contacted after being observed removing items from a department store without paying for them. As is standard practice, the Loss Prevention Agent contacted the subject in an attempt to stop him. Unfortunately, a fight ensured.
Although the article didn’t specify whether or not injuries resulted from the scuffle, it got me thinking about how many times I have seen Loss Prevention Agents with anything other than a radio on their belts. I must admit that I can’t think of a single instance.
Loss Prevention, by nature, relies on documentation first and foremost. However, when the agent needs to make contact with the suspected shoplifter, wouldn’t it make sense for them to have another layer of documentation capability as well as a way to defend themselves if things go south?
I can’t make an argument for NOT equipping these professionals with the necessary tools (like the Pro V2) they need to more safely and effectively do their jobs.
Feel free to challenge me on this if you disagree. And if you work for a retailer that employs Loss Prevention Agents, let me know if your company is on the leading edge of providing adequate defense tools for them. I’d love to know if the profession has changed since I wore the badge.