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Employee Safety Policy Template (Shoplifting)

This policy outlines the rules for what employees should do when someone shoplifts from the store.

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Employee Safety Policy Template (Shoplifting)

This policy outlines the rules for what employees should do when someone shoplifts from the store.


Your Safety Is More Important than Merchandise

Unfortunately, shoplifting and theft are realities many retail businesses face. While it affects our bottom line, at our company, we are adamant: The safety and well-being of our employees surpass any monetary loss

The primary reason behind crafting this shoplifting safety policy is to provide our team with clear guidance, ensuring they can handle such situations effectively and, above all, safely.

Every item on our shelves is replaceable, but the health and security of our staff are invaluable. We understand the challenges and unpredictability that can arise when dealing with suspected shoplifters. Tensions can escalate, and situations can turn volatile in mere moments. This policy isn't just about preventing theft; it's about ensuring that our employees never feel they're alone or unprotected in these challenging scenarios.

By following this policy, our team can confidently navigate potential shoplifting incidents, armed with the knowledge that we back them entirely. Our message is unwavering: We prioritize your safety above all else. The items we sell may have price tags, but your safety and peace of mind are priceless to us.

Our Safety Policy for Shoplifting

Important: Do Not Confront

We cannot stress enough the importance of avoiding direct confrontations with suspected shoplifters. The reasons are multifaceted. First and foremost, the unpredictability of human behavior means that even seemingly benign interactions can escalate quickly to dangerous situations. Our primary commitment is to your safety, and direct engagement poses risks we're unwilling for you to take.

No amount of merchandise, no matter its value, is worth compromising the well-being of our staff. You might feel an instinct to act or intervene, especially if you're certain about the shoplifting act, but we urge restraint.

Instead of confronting, we have established clear procedures, which we'll delve into next, to help you manage such situations. By adhering to these, you not only ensure your safety but also position our company to address the issue effectively, supported by local authorities and our internal security measures.

Remember, your safety is our topmost priority. 

What To Do About Shoplifters

Recognize the Signs of Potential Shoplifting

Being aware of suspicious behaviors can aid in early detection of potential shoplifters. While one sign alone may not conclusively indicate shoplifting, a combination of these behaviors can raise legitimate concerns:

  1. Nervous Behavior: Constantly looking around, especially at cameras or store employees, may indicate unease.
  2. Frequent Visits with No Purchase: If someone enters the store multiple times in a short period without making a purchase, it may be cause for concern.
  3. Loose or Oversized Clothing: Especially on a warm day, bulky clothing can be used to conceal stolen items.
  4. Altered Shopping Patterns: Customers who move against the general flow, backtrack unnecessarily, or wander aimlessly might be scoping out the environment.
  5. Avoiding Eye Contact or Interaction: This may indicate a guilty conscience or an attempt to go unnoticed.
  6. Constantly Watching Staff: A customer who seems overly interested in the location and actions of store employees may be gauging their chances of shoplifting undetected.
  7. Large Groups: Sometimes shoplifters work in groups where one or more individuals distract the staff while others steal.
  8. Handling Merchandise: While all customers will handle goods, repeated picking up and setting down of items, or moving merchandise to less monitored areas, can be suspicious.
  9. Abandoned Packaging: Discovering empty packages or wrappers, especially in odd locations, is a strong immediate sign.

Note: Behavior is not confirmation that shoplifting will occur. Rather, recognizing the signs provides us with the opportunity to react early and approach with a customer service mindset — while keeping employee safety our top priority.

Immediate Actions When You Notice Shoplifting

If you observe someone shoplifting, your safety and discretion are paramount. Here's a systematic way to navigate such situations without direct confrontation:

  1. Stay Calm and Observant: Remember, your primary role is to be a discreet observer, not an enforcer.
  2. Document Details: Quietly make a mental or written note of the suspect's appearance, actions, and any other relevant details. This will be useful for security and possibly law enforcement.
  3. Notify Security: Contact our trained security personnel immediately. They are equipped to handle such situations with a customer service approach, ensuring minimal confrontation while addressing the issue.
  4. Avoid Personal Engagement: No matter how confident or safe you might feel, do not approach or engage with the suspected individual. Let the trained professionals handle it.
  5. Stay Available: Once you've informed security, be prepared to provide them with the information you've noted. Your insights can be crucial.
  6. Prioritize Customer Experience: Continue attending to other customers, ensuring their shopping experience remains positive and undisturbed.
  7. Post-Incident: Once the situation is resolved, provide a detailed account for store records, and if necessary, for law enforcement.

Remember, we prioritize your safety above all. By following these steps, we ensure a secure environment for both employees and customers.

Post-incident reporting

Shoplifting incidents can end in various ways. Once an event transpires, it's crucial for our team to know the subsequent steps. Whether security successfully deescalates the situation or the shoplifter departs with merchandise, here's a clear guide to navigating the aftermath with precision and professionalism.

If the shoplifting incident is deescalated by security:

  1. Initiate Report Immediately: Start the report while the incident is fresh in your memory. Promptness ensures accuracy.
  2. Use the Designated Form: Retrieve the official incident report form from the management office or the designated storage area.
  3. Provide Detailed Descriptions: Clearly describe the suspected individual's appearance, behavior, and actions. Include any conversations or interactions they might have had.
  4. Narrate Security's Intervention: Detail how security approached the situation, their interaction with the suspected individual, and the outcome (merchandise bought or returned).
  5. Include Witness Accounts: If other employees or customers witnessed the incident, include their statements and contact details.
  6. Sign and Date: Once completed, ensure you sign and date the report, then submit it to management for review and any subsequent actions.

Remember, these reports aid in monitoring, training, and future prevention. Precision and clarity are vital.

If the shoplifter departs with stolen goods:

  1. Stay Safe, Stay Inside: Prioritize safety. Do not chase or attempt to follow the shoplifter outside the premises.
  2. Notify Management: Inform your supervisor or manager immediately, providing a brief overview of the situation.
  3. Document Everything: Begin a detailed report on the incident. Describe the shoplifter, the items they took, their method of escape, and any potential witnesses. Use the designated incident report form to ensure all necessary details are covered.
  4. Preserve Evidence: Ensure any abandoned packaging, CCTV footage, or other physical evidence is kept intact. This can be crucial for law enforcement investigations.
  5. Contact Law Enforcement: Report the theft to the local police department. Provide them with all the gathered information and evidence to aid in their investigation and to file a stolen goods report.
  6. Follow-Up: Stay in communication with management and law enforcement, and be prepared to provide any further details or clarifications as needed.

Your role in these situations is crucial. By providing accurate, timely information, you assist both the company and law enforcement in addressing and preventing future incidents.

In the Event of Confrontation

There may come a time when you cannot avoid confrontation or a shoplifter threatens force. In any scenario, the safety of our team and customers is paramount. Follow these essential guidelines:

  1. Do Not Engage: Never attempt to physically detain or challenge the individual. No item is worth the risk.
  2. Compliance Over Confrontation: If a shoplifter becomes aggressive or insists on taking merchandise, allow them. Replacing inventory is feasible; ensuring everyone's safety is non-negotiable.
  3. Stay Calm and Observant: Maintain a composed demeanor. Silently note the individual's appearance, actions, and any other pertinent details for subsequent reporting.
  4. Prioritize Personal Safety: Create distance between yourself, customers, and the threatening individual. If possible, find a safe space like a back room or office.
  5. Alert Authorities: Once safe, contact the local law enforcement to report the incident, providing all details you've observed.

Always remember, our belief is steadfast: people over property. We are committed to ensuring the well-being of our staff and patrons above all else.


At the core of our company lies an unwavering dedication to the safety and well-being of our employees. The challenges and unpredictabilities of potential shoplifting incidents necessitate clear guidelines, but our message is simple: people always come before property. 

This comprehensive policy is not merely a set of protocols; it stands as a testament to the value we place on each member of our team. In the face of any incident, big or small, our priority is to ensure you are protected, supported, and equipped with knowledge. 

While we aim to prevent theft and uphold our store's integrity, we will never do so at the cost of jeopardizing safety. Thank you for your dedication and hard work; please know that, in turn, we are unwaveringly dedicated to ensuring your security and peace of mind.

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