Should you prioritise retail security or CCTV?

Contact Us

Many retail premises have seen a marked increase in theft, resulting in growing retail shrinkage and increasing incidents of anti-social or threatening behaviour.

For these reasons, many more retailers are now considering their current security risk assessment and retail security staffing – which may or may not already include CCTV.

So, should retail security monitor CCTV or can you cut expenses by removing retail security and replacing them with CCTV altogether?

Is retail security or CCTV the most effective option for reducing theft?

When comparing CCTV and retail security, you are comparing two very different security options, which bring a range of benefits and weaknesses that you need to consider for each premises you own.

In terms of reducing instances of shoplifting, how do the two compare?


In retail, CCTV has many benefits, including:

  • Recording crimes as they happen – for non-biased evidence collection
  • Helping to identify criminals to stop repeat offenders
  • Giving a clear overview of all criminal actions taken before, during, and after
  • CCTV warning posters may deter some criminals
  • CCTV comes with a vast price range depending on what you need – allowing you to pay for the quality and type you need only

It also has a range of limitations:

  • CCTV can only record what it can see – so badly placed cameras or poor shop layouts can affect what is observed
  • Poor quality CCTV cameras can result in blurry evidence that is hard to use
  • CCTV alone cannot stop crime, only record the crime itself

Retail security

Retail security, on the other hand, has a range of benefits, which include:

  • Working flexibly thanks to their vast skillset, however you need them
  • Intervening before thieves leave the store, stopping the loss of product, and detaining criminals until the police arrive
  • Patrolling the store and changing the layout of the store to minimise the chances of further criminal activity
  • Giving shoppers a person to approach if they are worried about suspicious, criminal, or antisocial activity
  • Watching CCTV to locate shoplifters and create a plan with other security staff
  • Filling in reports and paperwork after a shoplifting attempt for insurance purposes and the emergency services

The limitations of retail security include:

  • Unless you have multiple security officers, they cannot see the whole shop at the same time
  • Evidence and reports can never be truly impartial – unlike with CCTV
  • Although the price per package will differ, retail security can incur a higher ongoing cost versus a CCTV system

Stop theft with a full-coverage approach

If you are looking to reduce theft, the best approach includes both CCTV and retail security staff.

This full-coverage approach is encouraged by the police force, who describe it as ‘active monitoring,’ and when used in conjunction, can reduce crime by 15% more than CCTV alone – according to the College of Policing’s Crime Reduction Toolkit.

Combining CCTV and retail security is so much more effective because it allows for the cessation of criminal activity in real-time – in almost any scenario, industry, or environment – while also recording all events for efficient prosecution.

Combine CCTV and retail security to stop theft

For real, noticeable effects, your security risk assessment should combine both in-person, highly trained retail security and CCTV.

With a friendly, approachable demeanour, each SIA-licensed retail security agent can combine the benefits of a visual deterrent with the instant action needed to stop thieves in their tracks – without escalating the situation and sparking violence.

To discuss your store security and limit loss through theft, why not call us on 020 3794 8182 or email us – we’ll get back to you as soon as we can to put your bespoke package together.