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  • "Integrity" LP Question

    I have a question regarding LP practices, I am relatively new to the field. I know of integrity testing, like placing money in easy reach of a cashier while monitoring them for theft of said money. My company does not teach or train using these methods, but I haven't yet asked if they are acceptable. I definately don't want to appear like I am planning on using unethical practices to entrap employees. I am wondering what are the legal implications to these methods. I have often wondered about operations where an unknown LP employee of the company would approach a suspected cashier or other employee and ask them to load or ring something up for a discount in return for payment later. We have had similar real life internal cases in which this happened.

    Just a thought as I didn't want to make a liability issue of myself by asking at work.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Nighthawk
    I have a question regarding LP practices, I am relatively new to the field. I know of integrity testing, like placing money in easy reach of a cashier while monitoring them for theft of said money. My company does not teach or train using these methods, but I haven't yet asked if they are acceptable. I definately don't want to appear like I am planning on using unethical practices to entrap employees. I am wondering what are the legal implications to these methods. I have often wondered about operations where an unknown LP employee of the company would approach a suspected cashier or other employee and ask them to load or ring something up for a discount in return for payment later. We have had similar real life internal cases in which this happened.

    Just a thought as I didn't want to make a liability issue of myself by asking at work.
    You need to find out if your company has a policy regarding integrity testing, or "shops". Whether or not shops are allowed and specifically what kind needs to be outlined in a company’s procedural or LP manual. If integrity test is not allowed - this also needs to be put in writing. Shops are not considered entrapment.
    Retail Security Consultant / Expert Witness
    Co-Author - Effective Security Management 6th Edition

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

    Comment


    • #3
      Legally, I'm not aware that private parties can even commit entrapment in the first place - only governmental agencies (unless a private party is acting "under color of law" - meaning, at the behest or under the direction of a government agency).

      However, you mention "ethical entrapment", and I do think that is a very real concern. Sometimes we focus too much on what security can do (legally) and forget that there is also this dimension of what security should do from the standpoint of ethics, and also from the standpoint of what is good business policy.

      Ethically, I believe that a "shop" should never go beyond setting up conditions whereby the employee who is already inclined to steal is given the opportunity to do so. In other words, it's one thing to hand a cashier the exact change and rush off without waiting for a receipt, claiming you're in a terrible hurry, thereby creating the opportunity for her to pocket the cash without ringing it up. It's quite another to verbally suggest or encourage her to do so. (Incidentally, I was at the deli counter in a grocery store just yesterday where a line was forming and the clerk told an impatient customer that if he had the correct change he could just put it on the counter and go, which he did...you know, of course, what I was thinking.)

      In terms of good business policy, also, I think that what a reasonable person would consider "entrapment" by management (forget that entrapment is legally impossible for private entities) would have a very detrimental effect on employee morale - which certainly is not good business policy.

      There have been studies showing that when you catch a thief in your business, the way it's handled can cost you other employees as well who are perfectly honest but who see unfairness or undue harshness, etc. in the way it is handled. It does you no good to prove that you have one dishonest cashier if the way you go about it damages employee morale or costs you other employees who fear being caught in a "trap".
      Last edited by SecTrainer; 05-08-2007, 11:23 AM.
      "Every betrayal begins with trust." - Brian Jacques

      "I can't predict the future, but I know that it'll be very weird." - Anonymous

      "There is nothing new under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 1:9

      "History, with all its volumes vast, hath but one page." - Lord Byron

      Comment


      • #4
        To add, an employee caught stealing, because of a shop should not be prosecuted. It is cause for an interview to ascertain what other illegal activity they are involved in. I've had strict policies in place that dictated shops were not to be performed unless creditable information was received that the employee was involved in such activity. They are a tool to rid a dishonest employee from your business. In effect - "stop the bleeding".
        Retail Security Consultant / Expert Witness
        Co-Author - Effective Security Management 6th Edition

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

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Security Consultant
          To add, an employee caught stealing, because of a shop should not be prosecuted. It is cause for an interview to ascertain what other illegal activity they are involved in. I've had strict policies in place that dictated shops were not to be performed unless creditable information was received that the employee was involved in such activity. They are a tool to rid a dishonest employee from your business. In effect - "stop the bleeding".
          Yes, and shops can have a wider scope that sometimes we in security don't think about - i.e., not just testing for honesty, but also testing the level of customer service that these employees are providing.

          This "added value" makes the use of "shops" more valuable to upper management, and accordingly will be more enthusiastically supported by them. They care as much or more about customer service as they do about theft (in fact, good customer service and lower levels of theft go hand-in-hand), and this is a very good example of meshing security services with the company's business mission.
          Last edited by SecTrainer; 05-08-2007, 07:28 PM.
          "Every betrayal begins with trust." - Brian Jacques

          "I can't predict the future, but I know that it'll be very weird." - Anonymous

          "There is nothing new under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 1:9

          "History, with all its volumes vast, hath but one page." - Lord Byron

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Nighthawk
            I have a question regarding LP practices, I am relatively new to the field. I know of integrity testing, like placing money in easy reach of a cashier while monitoring them for theft of said money. My company does not teach or train using these methods, but I haven't yet asked if they are acceptable. I definately don't want to appear like I am planning on using unethical practices to entrap employees. I am wondering what are the legal implications to these methods. I have often wondered about operations where an unknown LP employee of the company would approach a suspected cashier or other employee and ask them to load or ring something up for a discount in return for payment later. We have had similar real life internal cases in which this happened.

            Just a thought as I didn't want to make a liability issue of myself by asking at work.
            I worked LP for a very large nationwide high end retailer. We had no written policy on "shops" or integrity testing and they were not taught in the LP department. However, we did use them on a couple of occasions when we felt that there was no better method to catch a dishonest employee.

            We had to receive approval from the regional manager of investigations, videotape the shop (if possible), and document it. The one thing I noticed was that our regional manager was afraid of "entrapment," although SecTrainer makes a very good point above concerning entrapment and private entities. In addition, most people have an incorrect belief about what really constitutes entrapment, and that may be something you'll find in your own organization.

            We hired a new LP officer who came from a different company and their LP department. He said that they would do a variety of different integrity shops on a regular basis to catch dishonest employees.

            If you haven't read a written policy about it, your company is probably similar to mine. If you find yourself working an internal case and you think an integrity shop would work, plan one out and present your case up the chain of command and see what they say.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Nighthawk
              I definately don't want to appear like I am planning on using unethical practices to entrap employees. I am wondering what are the legal implications to these methods.
              Here's a good legal defintion of entrapment:

              Entrapment occurs if the conduct of the investigating officers or their agents in dealing with the defendant would “likely” have induced a “normally law-abiding person” to commit the crime with which the defendant was charged.
              http://www.browardcrime.com/lea_052000_entrapment.htm

              To give some examples:

              Suspect that one of your employees is stealing cash? Placing marked $100 bills in the cash register is NOT entrapment. Find a homeless, starving man and tell him you'll give him food and money if he steals something for you? There's a good argument for entrapment.

              Furthermore:

              Permissible police actions:

              The following actions by officers or their agents will not constitute entrapment:

              CREATING AN OPPORTUNITY TO COMMIT A CRIME:

              Entrapment does not result merely because officers created a situation which made it possible for the defendant to commit the crime. This is because it is presumed that a normally law-abiding person would resist the temptation to commit a crime if officers did nothing more than give him an opportunity to do so.
              http://www.browardcrime.com/lea_052000_entrapment.htm

              Comment


              • #8
                Integrity shops are a very good tool to evaluate employee honesty, when conducted properly. I have seen some companies conduct very bad shops, where they practically beg people to steal. As an example, when I was a Director of LP, I had a shopping company talk to me about their 90% "hit" rate on shops. When I delved deeper into how they conducted their shops, they said they pulled employees aside and offered them cash to take out merchandise at a higher price. For example, they would offer $20 if the employee would let them take a $50 item. He bragged about how they would just put the money in the employee's hand if they were reluctant and just walk with the merchandise. To me, this is not the way to conduct shops and is wrong on several levels.

                Now, even with this extreme situation, it is not legally entrapment. But, it is not right. I believe in creating situations, as close to normal situations as possible, that simply create an opportunity for an employee to make a decision on how to handle a situation. A good shopping service should be looking to find people doing things right, not doing their best to catch them doing something wrong. On top of the integrity issues, customer service should always be evaluated at the same time to provide more bang for the buck on using a shopping service.

                While shops are often a tool used during a specific investigation, the best utilization of integrity shops are when they are conducted randomly. There is no bias. Just a routine review of employee's integrity. This will give you a much better idea of how well your awareness and prevention strategies are working. If you catch very few people, you are probably doing pretty well. If you catch a bunch, you probably need to work on the prevention a bit.
                www.plsolutions.net
                www.customerloyaltysolutions.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by LPGuy
                  Here's a good legal defintion of entrapment:

                  http://www.browardcrime.com/lea_052000_entrapment.htm

                  To give some examples:

                  Suspect that one of your employees is stealing cash? Placing marked $100 bills in the cash register is NOT entrapment. Find a homeless, starving man and tell him you'll give him food and money if he steals something for you? There's a good argument for entrapment.

                  Furthermore:

                  http://www.browardcrime.com/lea_052000_entrapment.htm
                  Entrapment only applys to those in LE.
                  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
                    Promising something in return for someone committing a crime is conspiracy, is it not?
                    Some Kind of Commando Leader

                    "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Security Consultant
                      Entrapment only applys to those in LE.
                      In my post just prior to the one you replied to, I noted that SecTrainer had already mentioned this. I was only defining entrapment since most people have a faulty understanding of it to begin with.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I apologise - I sometimes have a problem reading through the volumes posted by Sec Trainer.
                        Retail Security Consultant / Expert Witness
                        Co-Author - Effective Security Management 6th Edition

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

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Security Consultant
                          I apologise - I sometimes have a problem reading through the volumes posted by Sec Trainer.
                          No, the fault is all mine, I'm sure.
                          "Every betrayal begins with trust." - Brian Jacques

                          "I can't predict the future, but I know that it'll be very weird." - Anonymous

                          "There is nothing new under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 1:9

                          "History, with all its volumes vast, hath but one page." - Lord Byron

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            No at all - I'm not always interested in what everyone writes on and I skim over some of the topics. Not a direct reflection on you - you write whatever you write.
                            Retail Security Consultant / Expert Witness
                            Co-Author - Effective Security Management 6th Edition

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

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Security Consultant
                              No at all - I'm not always interested in what everyone writes on and I skim over some of the topics. Not a direct reflection on you - you write whatever you write.
                              Well, as they say, "brevity is the soul of wit", and by that measure I'm sure that I'm witless.
                              "Every betrayal begins with trust." - Brian Jacques

                              "I can't predict the future, but I know that it'll be very weird." - Anonymous

                              "There is nothing new under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 1:9

                              "History, with all its volumes vast, hath but one page." - Lord Byron

                              Comment

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