Human intelligence provides a resource that expands the scope and depth of our departmental reach; extending our eyes and ears beyond the limits of the loss prevention staff and creating an inclusive environment that exponentially feeds us information vital to our loss prevention investigations and the overall success of the program.
Greatly enhancing all of our investigative processes, both employees and those outside of the company can provide us with valuable information and insights that can help us to develop our investigations, identify suspects, and bring our cases to a successful conclusion.
As a resource, human intelligence must be nurtured and cultivated in order to maximize what we are able to gather while providing the necessary attention and support to ensure that those with valued information continue to come forward. As a department, we have to create an environment that both welcomes and encourages this support while offering reasonable protections to safeguard those that offer assistance:
- We must project an image of approachability; reflecting the impression that we are open and accommodating to those with the ability and desire to step up and speak out. Such an impression will make a tremendous difference in both the quality and measure of these resources. Others must feel comfortable coming forward and speaking to us in order to maximize our effectiveness.
- We have to provide certain assurances of trust and confidentiality when necessary and appropriate to instill the confidence that we will reasonably protect those that provide us with information. Many fail to come forward out of fear of repercussion. We must show the willingness and ability to handle such information with appropriate discretion to protect the identity, interests and well being of those who come forward.
- We have to reinforce the value of such information, the appreciation of the department and the service to the organization when individuals demonstrate the initiative and fortitude to step up and speak out.
The conditions under which such information is attained can influence the process and the results (An individual apprehended that implicates another perpetrator vs. an employee who comes forward in good faith as a service to the company, for example); however our actions and decisions in these situations can have a substantial and long-lasting impact on the entire department, and it is critical that our decisions reflect a professional, discreet image of trust and commitment at every opportunity regardless of the specific circumstances. Trust and support are essential to the success and the reputation of every loss prevention program; and how we handle our human resources is critical.
By capitalizing on opportunities to enhance our knowledge and education, we are making an investment in our own future. To learn more about developing your loss prevention investigations skills and the certification process, visit losspreventionfoundation.org.