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Best Practice: Retrieving the Merchandise

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  • Best Practice: Retrieving the Merchandise

    I’d be interested in some feedback regarding a best practice. I have worked for two different retailers and have many friends who work or worked for others. It seems that every retailer has some version of the policy that dictates the LP ask for the merchandise during the initial approach. I think I know why – two reasons: first, they want to establish without doubt the fact the shoplifter has the merchandise before it goes any further, and second, getting the merchandise back is such a high priority they want it done as soon as possible. I have made hundreds of apprehensions and I do follow the rules (all elements present, never made a bad stop, never got hurt, etc.) but this is one area I’ll admit I don’t follow the company line. My feeling is that during the first few seconds of the apprehension emotions run high, fight-or-flight is a factor, and the shoplifter is prone to making irrational decisions. Who knows what they have concealed on their person. The last thing I want at that point is him or her reaching into their pocket/purse/jacket or whatever. Quite often I have had shoplifters offer to give me the concealed merchandise while still at the exit or walking to the office. I always say in an even, friendly tone, “That’s okay, just keep your hands out where I can see them for now.” It is not until after we are in the office and I have complete control that I concern myself with retrieving the merchandise. In other words, I willingly follow the rules but my #1 rule is to keep myself safe so I can go home to my family at the end of the day.

    What do you say? Does anyone else out there “bend the rules” on this one.
    Last edited by aloha330; 06-02-2012, 10:23 PM.

  • #2
    I like this:

    Agents using best practices recover at least one item of stolen merchandise from the subject during the initial stop.


    The rationale being, verification by the agent that a subject does indeed have possession of unpaid for merchandise is best effected in a public place, prior to escalating to a custodial environment. Recovering at least one item of unpaid for merchandise precludes the subject from “ditching” the merchandise deceptively, while en route to the security office. Further, it is less compelling to pursue a fleeing subject having mitigated the financial loss.
    Retail Security Consultant / Expert Witness
    Co-Author - Effective Security Management 6th Edition

    Contributor to Retail Crime, Security and Loss Prevention: An Encyclopedic Reference

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    • #3
      Our policies state to ask the subject to hand over the merchandise if it is appropriate for them to do so, however we may ask during the stop or once in the office.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Curtis Baillie View Post
        I like this:

        Agents using best practices recover at least one item of stolen merchandise from the subject during the initial stop.


        The rationale being, verification by the agent that a subject does indeed have possession of unpaid for merchandise is best effected in a public place, prior to escalating to a custodial environment. Recovering at least one item of unpaid for merchandise precludes the subject from “ditching” the merchandise deceptively, while en route to the security office. Further, it is less compelling to pursue a fleeing subject having mitigated the financial loss.
        Thank you for your input Curtis, but I respectfully disagree. Whether it is one item or everything, my point is I don't like the subject reaching into his or her pockets before I have a chance to defuse the tension and pat them down. If there is doubt as to verification that the subject does indeed have possession of unpaid for merchandise the stop shouldn't be made in the first place. It seems pretty unlikely that they can "ditch" the merchandise while I am escorting them, hopefully with a back-up witness.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by aloha330 View Post
          Thank you for your input Curtis, but I respectfully disagree. Whether it is one item or everything, my point is I don't like the subject reaching into his or her pockets before I have a chance to defuse the tension and pat them down. If there is doubt as to verification that the subject does indeed have possession of unpaid for merchandise the stop shouldn't be made in the first place. It seems pretty unlikely that they can "ditch" the merchandise while I am escorting them, hopefully with a back-up witness.
          I agree with Curtis.
          The only thing I would like to add is stop them in front of a camera & when he reaches for his pockets make sure you always have eye contact with him, if he tries something funny you will pick it up immediately.
          If he is a professional you might just find the stolen goods in your possession by the time you get to the office.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by aloha330 View Post
            Thank you for your input Curtis, but I respectfully disagree. Whether it is one item or everything, my point is I don't like the subject reaching into his or her pockets before I have a chance to defuse the tension and pat them down. If there is doubt as to verification that the subject does indeed have possession of unpaid for merchandise the stop shouldn't be made in the first place. It seems pretty unlikely that they can "ditch" the merchandise while I am escorting them, hopefully with a back-up witness.
            You asked for a best practice and I gave one. It appears what you are actually looking for is someone to validate your way of handling the approach. As long as your way does not violate your company's policy - you should be fine.
            Retail Security Consultant / Expert Witness
            Co-Author - Effective Security Management 6th Edition

            Contributor to Retail Crime, Security and Loss Prevention: An Encyclopedic Reference

            Comment


            • #7
              Our policy is to approach with two people, recover the merchandise (unless worn) and escort immediately off the floor and into the office. That way if they run from our custody while in the store, we have the merchandise and there is no reason to chase. We do not let them reach into the bag, we take possession of the bag or container used to steal.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Curtis Baillie View Post
                As long as your way does not violate your company's policy - you should be fine.
                I disagree with you there.
                There are Pros & Cons to this debate but if aloha doesn’t agree with the company’s procedure he needs to speak to either his manager or the owner of the company.
                His method might work for a while but the day it doesn’t he is going to get the book thrown at him.
                Last edited by Warren14; 06-03-2012, 03:37 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Warren14 View Post
                  I disagree with you there.
                  There are Pros & Cons to this debate but if aloha doesn’t agree with the company’s procedure he needs to speak to either his manager or the owner of the company.
                  His method might work for a while but the day it doesn’t he is going to get the book thrown at him.
                  Isn't that what I basically said?
                  Retail Security Consultant / Expert Witness
                  Co-Author - Effective Security Management 6th Edition

                  Contributor to Retail Crime, Security and Loss Prevention: An Encyclopedic Reference

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Isn't that what I basically said?
                    Correct me if I am wrong but it sounded like you were saying a verbal agreement would be fine.
                    Due to the fact that he is deviating from the policy’s procedure aloha should get something in writing to cover him should something go wrong. E.g. add a clause in the policy or get a senior person to make an occurrence book entry.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Warren14 View Post
                      Correct me if I am wrong but it sounded like you were saying a verbal agreement would be fine.
                      Due to the fact that he is deviating from the policy’s procedure aloha should get something in writing to cover him should something go wrong. E.g. add a clause in the policy or get a senior person to make an occurrence book entry.
                      I said, As long as your way does not violate your company's policy - you should be fine.
                      Retail Security Consultant / Expert Witness
                      Co-Author - Effective Security Management 6th Edition

                      Contributor to Retail Crime, Security and Loss Prevention: An Encyclopedic Reference

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Out of all the ways you can violate an apprehension policy so you think they will fire you for this one?

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                        • #13
                          The OP is from Ohio, an employment "at-will" state. His employment can be terminated for any reason at any time, except for race, creed, age and the rest of the protected areas and contractual agreement. Both employer or employee can end the employment without notice.
                          Retail Security Consultant / Expert Witness
                          Co-Author - Effective Security Management 6th Edition

                          Contributor to Retail Crime, Security and Loss Prevention: An Encyclopedic Reference

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            If you are making a stop you should be 100% certain that they have the merchandise. Asking them to hand it over before they exit sounds like you have a bit of doubt in your mind about them actually having the merchandise (or at least that's what the policy sounds like). What happens if they don't hand you the merchandise than, do you just let them go?

                            From what I have seen in stops that I have made is that its best to escort them back to the office without causing a scene and taking care of everything there. You have to remember that other customers will be around and the subject will not take kindly to you calling him out in front of the whole store, stating what he stole.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by wiredharpoon View Post
                              If you are making a stop you should be 100% certain that they have the merchandise. Asking them to hand it over before they exit sounds like you have a bit of doubt in your mind about them actually having the merchandise (or at least that's what the policy sounds like). What happens if they don't hand you the merchandise than, do you just let them go?

                              From what I have seen in stops that I have made is that its best to escort them back to the office without causing a scene and taking care of everything there. You have to remember that other customers will be around and the subject will not take kindly to you calling him out in front of the whole store, stating what he stole.
                              Thank you, wiredharpoon, that was what I was trying to say, (along with the safety aspect of not allowing a suspect to reach into their purse or jacket) - before my comments were twisted out of context.

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