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HMV uses radical ‘non-confrontational’ interview techniques to prevent fraud in UK

It started life as ‘His Master’s Voice’ but listening has become the latest weapon in fighting fraud for HMV - the UK and Ireland’s leading multi-media retailer.


HMV uses radical ‘non-confrontational’ interview techniques to prevent fraud in UK

It started life as ‘His Master’s Voice’ but listening has become the latest weapon in fighting fraud for HMV - the UK and Ireland’s leading multi-media retailer.

The brand, which also owns High Street book specialists Waterstone’s, is utilising a radical interview technique from the US that engages rather than alienates those accused of retail fraud and encourages them to confess to their crimes.

The Wicklander-Zulawski (WZ) non confrontational interview techniques used by retailers confronted with suspected thieves were showcased in October at the BRC’s retail crime conference during a packed seminar organised by event sponsor, Cardinal Security Ltd which is running courses for retailers during January March and April.

The WZ technique, enables the retailer to obtain full confessions through a programme that prepares and coaches investigators to accurately interpret physical and verbal behaviour during interviews. This technique has been an industry standard in the US since 1982 where over 150,000 people have been trained including the majority of investigators used by top US retailers, as well as members of military and law enforcement agencies. The technique has recently been introduced into the UK and has already been used successfully by a number of preeminent retailers.

Sue Lamley, head of risk and loss prevention at HMV says: “We have trained all our loss prevention investigators using the Wicklander-Zulawski programme and we have really noticed a dramatic improvement in the quality and consistency of the interviews that we now conduct in the business.”

The programme is also been endorsed by Fossil, the US retro fashion jewellery retailer which has ambitious growth plans throughout Europe during 2010. Head of loss prevention at Fossil, Michael Chambers, says: “As a Loss Prevention Manager covering the UK I am aware that each day there are new challenges and changes arriving on our door step in the loss prevention industry. I wanted to be included in these changes and devolvement which would enable me to better protect the assets and interests of my company and update my own skills & development. I found attending the interview and interrogation course with WZ very beneficial for my role as a loss prevention manager as it taught me new skills on interviewing not just suspects but witnesses also. How to ask the right questions during interviews and monitor body language and use techniques that would identify offenders. I would recommend this course for new loss prevention investigators as it offers good knowledge and awareness within for Loss Prevention managers to up skill and as a refresher on new techniques.”

The Cardinal Group through WZ-UK has an exclusive agreement with Wicklander-Zulawski to deliver training seminars to retailers and the private sector on this side of the Atlantic.

Through WZ-UK, the method has now been endorsed by other retailers who have already undertaken the seminar including Lifestyle Sports which has more than 90 stores in Ireland.

Jason Triggs, CEO of Cardinal Security, adds: “This is a powerful tool that engages suspects rather than alienates them. The return on the investment for the training is more than capable of being realized on its first use as other misdemeanours often rise to the surface during the course of a WZ interview. It can be very revealing for the retailers using it and quite cathartic for the offender who often are releasing a sense of guilt about their activities.  The sessions involve two-days of classroom learning and video examples that include the tell-tale signs of guilty body language, all of which is admissible evidence and helps police to do their job in prosecuting oven-ready cases that involve no additional paperwork on their part.”

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