Retail security job description

Updated July 19, 2017

A retail security officer guards the premises for a retail shop. Retail security officers ensure the safety at such places as clothing stores, electronics shops or even automobile dealerships. They guard the retail establishment against theft, property damage and the occasional unruly customer. And, of course, they keep a close eye on the cash register and vault.


Retail security officers aren’t always uniformed. Some use the assistance of cameras to watch over customers. Either way, they must act swiftly and confidently when dealing with suspicious activity. Retail security officers have to be prepared to use force, particularly when it comes to apprehending and detaining shoplifting suspects. Most retail security officers spend a long time on their feet, walking the premises and staying alert.


Retail security officers need to be aware of their surroundings at all times. They need to be strong communicators, able to convey critical information to suspects, store employees and, if needed, law enforcement officials when things go wrong. They should be confident, professional, assertive when necessary and not easily rattled. They need to possess strength and stamina in the event they are forced to chase down or restrain a suspect.


In order to be licensed by the Security Industry Authority, security guards must have completed one of a number of required courses, typically a Level 2 Award in Security Guarding.


More and more retail stores are finding a need for security, particularly when it comes to preventing shoplifting and property damage. Since the introduction of licensing in 2007, over 100,000 licenses have been issued.


Salaries for security officers, including those in the retail sector, vary by their experience and overall responsibilities. The National Careers Service estimates starting salaries of £12,000 to £15,000 per year, with experienced officers earning around £20,000.

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About the Author

Sam Amico is a reporter for and worked as a writer and editor at daily newspapers for more than a decade, covering everything from rock concerts to college football to courts and crime. He attended Kent State University and is the author of the book, "A Basketball Summer." He also is the co-host of a nationally-syndicated television show, "The Wine & Gold Zone."