The retail industry is a significant part of the UK’s economy, generating total sales of £321 billion last year, according to a report from the Bristol Retail Consortium (BRC). What’s more, retail is the largest UK private sector employer, with over 3 million workers in the industry.

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Recently, however, there have been growing concerns over retail-related crime which continues to impinge on the sector, costing millions of pounds each year and restricting its growth.

At the beginning of this year, for example, the BRC released a report following a survey of 30 large and small retailers, which together account for 51% of the whole retail sector in terms of turnover. Of those polled, the results revealed that shoplifting alone amounted to £511 million in losses in 2012-2013. During the same period, the average value of in-store theft grew by 62% to £177, while losses were 166% higher than those recorded just five years ago.

Additionally, during the same period there were 766,227 offences reported to the BRC by the retailers participating in the poll, which roughly equates to 2.7 million crimes across the whole sector. Although already worryingly high, this figure only accounts for employee theft, customer theft, robbery, burglary, criminal, fraud and criminal damage, so in actual fact the actual number of crimes is likely to be significantly higher.

If you own a retail business, there’s no doubt that security is on the forefront of your mind, particularly as crime figures continue to climb. What you want is an environment that is both comfortable and appealing to your customers, but one that is as safe and secure as it possibly can be. Needless to say, you don’t want you customers thinking that they’ve just walked into a high security prison, so ensuring the right level of security is important.

Security measures include everything you do to protect yourself, your employees, customers and the physical store, including your stock. Firstly, what store surveillance do you have? Security mirrors and CCTV cameras are good anti-theft devices, enabling you to track and monitor people entering and leaving your store.

However, CCTV cameras and mirrors alone are not enough, as many thieves have found ways of bypassing these systems. For added protection, you may want to consider hiring retail security staff: from uniformed officers to store detectives, having highly trained, experienced personnel on your side will help to safeguard your store and keep you, your employees and your customers well-protected.

CCTV cameras, mirrors and security staff help to monitor the activity taking place within your store, but what about the actual products on the shelves? Nowadays, the majority of stores use Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) technologies. This means ‘tagging’ your products and installing a detector system near the doorway of your store, so that an alarm sounds if the tag has not been deactivated. EAS technologies can act as a great shoplifting deterrent, particularly if a security guard is present near the store’s exit to inspect any bags that raise the alarm.

At the end of the day, you want to lock-up your store safe in the knowledge that it’s secure as it possibly can be. A burglar alarm is an essential piece of kit for your shop, but you may also want to consider specific motion sensor cameras too. Of course, you should invest in sturdy, high-quality locks and a shutter for added protection.

When it comes to safeguarding your retail business, not just one system will work on its own. By employing a combination of different security technologies and measures you will provide a safe and comfortable environment for your customers and staff whilst knowing that your business is well-protected.

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