What Does a Retail Security Guard Do?

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  • Written By: D. Grey
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 03 December 2019
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A retail security guard is an employee whose main objective is to protect the safety and well being of both customers and employees in a retail establishment and to prevent financial damage caused by shoplifting, robbery, or similar dangers. Some of the duties of a retail security guard might include removing potentially harmful persons from the retail store or area, using video surveillance equipment, and being able to clearly communicate with other security personnel. A security guard of this type will generally be required to have a skill set appropriate to the job environment, which almost always includes physical fitness. It is also possible that the security officer will be required by law to have a license and that he or she may have to renew this license from time to time.

The primary concern of private security personnel working in retail establishments is generally the safety of any customers and employees present. A retail environment could be a single store or an entire shopping mall, and depending on the needs of the employer, the retail security guard may work on a team with other security professionals. A security guard is also responsible for safeguarding the financial interests of the institution, and therefore, might be instructed to protect cash registers, vaults, or the items in the store.


Skills necessary for a retail security guard will vary depending on his or her employer's needs, but generally include social skills, equipment proficiency, and physical fitness. A security guard usually needs to be capable of being personable yet firm with individuals in order to ensure that problematic situations aren't escalated by misunderstandings or mistreatment. Strength requirements are also a concern for security guards in retail settings as they may need to restrain violent or otherwise dangerous trespassers. If weaponry of any type is issued to the security guard, he or she will need to have appropriate training to use it properly and safely.

Many countries have laws that require an individual interested in working in the private security field to be properly licensed. These requirements vary widely in the United States, and each state generally has its own set of laws and training requirements. In the United Kingdom, an organization called the Security Industry Authority regulates licensing for security guards. Persons working as a retail security guard without appropriate licensing where necessary may find themselves in legal trouble, if discovered, and the employer may be in a similarly negative situation should this occur.


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