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Store detective

Store detectives work to prevent shoplifting as part of a team of security officers.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £15,000 to £26,500 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: Up to 48 per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set requirements, but a good standard of general education will help. 

For some jobs you’ll need to be licensed by the Security Industry Authority (SIA). To qualify for licensing you’ll need to:

  • be aged 18 or over
  • pass an identity check and a criminal record check
  • have completed relevant SIA approved training

You’ll usually move into store detective work as a second career. Relevant experience includes working in retail, with the police, armed forces or security companies.

Employers will carry out checks on your personal and work history, which could go back up to 10 years, and you’ll need to declare any criminal convictions.

You’ll need to be reasonably fit as you’ll be on your feet all day. For some jobs you might also need a driving licence and access to a car. 

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • observational skills
  • the ability to handle sensitive situations
  • confidence to challenge people when necessary
  • the ability to use modern surveillance systems, like CCTV and electronic tags
  • the ability to make quick decisions

3. What you'll do

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • following shoppers or staff who behave suspiciously
  • calling the police and describing what you’ve seen
  • taking evidence from witnesses
  • writing short reports
  • giving evidence in court
  • stopping anyone trying to leave the store with stolen goods

4. Salary

Starter: £15,000 to £17,500

Experienced: £18,000 to £21,000

Highly Experienced: £22,000 to £26,500 (supervisors)

Many store detectives earn more money by doing overtime.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You could work up to 48 hours a week, including evenings and weekends. You may work shifts, depending on the opening hours of the store. Temporary and seasonal work is often available.

6. Career path and progression

With experience you could progress to a senior post, like supervisor or security manager. 

You could also become self-employed and work on contracts for stores.

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Last updated: 13 December 2016