Your guide to the UK Security Industry

What works to protect retail


The most effective form of loss prevention is to use customer service, advises RAC (Retailers Against Crime). Offenders thrive on anonymity and often leave premises when they are noticed. By knowing where your customers are, offering them your assistance and anticipating their needs will undoubtedly help reduce crime in your premises.


Offenders take advantage of busy stores during peak hours and when staff are busy, such as opening, closing and shift changes.

Be Attentive

Greet your customers. This lets any possible offenders know you are aware of their presence.


If you notice a suspicious person, approach them and ask ‘How can I help you?’ and make yourself visible in the vicinity.

Stay Focused

Be on your guard when large groups enter the store together. Be aware of those who distract staff, enabling others to commit crime.

Warning others

If you notice known offenders or suspicious activities, alert other staff immediately – many stores have a security code or ‘buzzword’ they use for this.


News travels fast, so if you do detain someone for theft call the police and report the crime. If it’s known that theft will not be tolerated in your premises, this in itself can act as a deterrent.

RAC is a national crime partnership established in 1997, not for profit, funded by members and sponsors. Maxine Fraser, National Operations Director of Stirling-based RAC, says: “Our main objectives are to detect and deter crime, including acts of violence by sharing information on local and travelling offenders to over 1500 member premises in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the North West of England.

“We provide a tailored service aimed at preventing crime impacting on our member premises in an effort to protect profits and assist in maintaining a safe environment for staff and customers. Our specialised staff analyse offenders, identify their methods, associates and where they offend enabling us to forewarn our members resulting in deterring crime before it happens.

“We are at the forefront in identifying and providing intelligence on organised crime groups, many of whom are involved in other criminal activities including drugs, firearms, protection and terrorism. We work together with crime partnerships and police forces across the UK sharing relevant intelligence on offenders and organised crime groups. Our tailored training programmes assist staff in detecting and deterring crime. We also provide workshops to the wider community including educating young people on the effect of crime, investing in their future. Retail crime is an industry and has a negative impact and significant financial cost upon retail and the economy. Furthermore, this can have
a detrimental effect on staff and customers. Businesses that invest in crime reduction measures and education to deter crime will help create an environment where staff feel supported, businesses thrive and customers want to return.

“We are often asked, ‘How do I recognise who is committing crime in my premises’? The answer is simple, you never really know who they are. Always trust your instinct. If you feel that something is wrong, it usually is."