A Supervisor's Responsibilities for Maintaining Store Security

by Ralph Heibutzki

Whether he oversees a convenience store, co-op or general merchandise outlet, security is among a store supervisor's biggest priorities. Essentially, he functions as the corporate ownership's point man for loss prevention, which requires him to evaluate and upgrade security procedures constantly. To safeguard store assets, he must educate employees in theft detection and prevention methods. Attention to detail in all these tasks is essential, particularly to preserve evidence of criminal activity for prosecution by local law enforcement.

Asset Protection

Determining best practices for protecting store employees and merchandise is one of a store supervisor's core responsibilities. He ensures the accurate recording of sales, markdowns and other store transactions, "Loss Prevention" magazine says. He also institutes procedures against inventory losses that occur through damage, employee theft and shoplifting. When incidents happen, the supervisor reviews the relevant facts to evaluate weaknesses in store security methods, or employee attitudes that lead to further problems if they go uncorrected.

Crowd Management

Maintaining a safe, secure environment for shoppers is always a priority, especially during major retail events such as Black Friday. Disorderly crowds and opportunistic thieves are just two hazards that store supervisors confront, the Security Info Watch website reports. Managers also coordinate basic crowd control measures, such as installing ropes and barriers. He keeps crowds moving through the store in orderly fashion and assigns employees to deter shoplifters. To further minimize theft risks, he also implements tight cash and stockroom controls before the event.

Education and Training

Although the supervisor is responsible for coordinating security, he can't do it without a committed staff. For that reason, creating training materials is a major priority. As part of those efforts, the manager trains employees to recognize suspicious persons, and which items pose high theft risks, the Retail Minded website states. He also meets regularly with employees to identify problems and coordinate strategies for an effective response. Through posters and other educational materials, he reminds workers of their loss prevention obligations.

Internal Control Procedures

Managers define the security environment through written policies and procedures, such as whom to notify in case of an incident, according to the Cooperative Grocer Network. Other policies focus on employee conduct. To prevent fraud, for example, the store might require management approval for refunds and returns. Keeping the floor fully staffed is also a priority, though supervisors may stagger shifts to minimize the risk of employee theft. He further clarifies the store's stance by posting notices that shoplifting means prosecution.

Investigation and Deterrence

Determining the store's response to theft allegations or incidents is another major managerial priority. If an employee is suspected, the manager may oversee such basic investigative tasks as checking cash register tapes, according to the Cooperative Grocer Network. He helps employees sharpen detection and identification skills, which are essential to make cases against shoplifters stick. The supervisor also works closely with local law enforcement to hold thieves accountable through community service, jail time and restitution, which keeps the store from being viewed as an easy target.

About the Author

Ralph Heibutzki's articles have appeared in the "All Music Guide," "Goldmine," "Guitar Player" and "Vintage Guitar." He is also the author of "Unfinished Business: The Life & Times Of Danny Gatton," and holds a journalism degree from Michigan State University.

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