Security guard job

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David Jones works as an in-store security guard. He is based at several locations and works either in plain clothes or wears a uniform. Sometimes he works undercover as a shopper to keep an eye on suspect shoplifters.

What are your main duties?

I am responsible for the general security of the store, which includes the premises and products. It is my job to ensure that items do not get damaged or removed from the store. I check that everything is locked up at the right time, all the security devices are armed and the alarms are switched on.

What happens when you see a shoplifter in action?

When I spot and detain a shoplifter I have to follow the correct procedures and contact the relevant authorities, such as the police. Sometimes, I may have to give chase and bring them back into the store.

When working in plain clothes, I walk around the shop floor pretending to be a shopper. This allows me to keep a closer eye on possible suspects. It involves some acting, as I have to blend into the surroundings and make sure I don't do anything to draw attention to myself.

What hours do you work?

I work 37.5 hours a week but not in the same store all the time. I work at weekends on a rota system, which means I work five days in every seven. I usually work in uniform four days a week and spend the fifth day as a plain clothes store detective at a different store.

What kind of training have you had?

Initially, I was given advice and training on what to look out for, such as suspicious behaviour and theft hot spots in the shop premises. I also learned the correct procedures for detaining a suspect. Recently, I completed a first aid course.

What skills and personal qualities do you need to be a security guard?

You need a lot of common sense to deal with different situations. You also need to be outgoing and unafraid of handling confrontations. A positive outlook and observation skills are helpful, as well as being able to stand your ground.

David's route to becoming a security guard

  • Car mechanic training scheme.
  • Shopping centre security guard.

David's security guard job tips

  • Working in security means that you've got to be very alert and switched on.
  • Treat everyone equally and maintain a professional approach at all times.

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Wages of a security guard

  • Starting wages range from £10,000 to £12,000 a year, rising to £18,000 with experience.
  • At senior/management level it is possible to earn up to £25,000 a year.
  • In some jobs, overtime work can increase income.

Getting in

  • All UK security guards must have an SIA (Security Industry Authority) license.
  • Whilst there are no formal entry requirements, a good standard of spoken and written English is usually essential.
  • Most people progress into this role after gaining relevant experience in other areas, such as working within the police, fire or prison service or the armed forces.
  • New store detectives usually receive training from their employers, including external courses or on-the-job training with more experienced colleagues.
  • The Security Industry Training Organisation (SITO) offers distance learning courses in store detection that lead to a SITO/City & Guilds qualification.
  • There are a number of additional related courses that lead to NVQs/SVQs at Levels 2 and 3. These include Retail and Leisure Security, and Security Safety and Loss Prevention.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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