LP Magazine

JUL-AUG 2014

LP magazine publishes articles for loss prevention, asset protection, and retail professionals covering shrinkage, investigations, shoplifting, internal theft, fraud, technology, best practices, and career development.

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One of the most common complaints we hear from senior loss prevention executives is the lack of a quality final statement detailing admissions the employee made during the interview. Since the final statement is representative of the admissions and confessions made during the interview, it is essential that it be as detailed as possible, containing the elements of the crime or policy violation, and clearly substantiating the associate's admissions. continued from page 12 In most cases the employee's statement is organized in the following manner: 1. The document is dated with the current date when it was prepared. Often the time it began and was completed is included. 2. The first paragraph in the document is used to identify the individual and establish their biographical information. At a minimum this should include the individual's name, position and tenure within the organization, plus the location of assignment. This establishes their role as an employee and the venue of the incident if a criminal complaint is going to be contemplated. Some organizations include other biographical information, such as the associate's address, employee identification number, or other personal information. 3. The document's second paragraph is a summary of the admission made by the employee during the interview. This summary is not a substantiated or detailed admission, but rather an overview of what is to come. For example, the associate might write, "I stole $300 in merchandise and $200 in money from [insert company name] store 5295." 4. In the subsequent paragraphs the employee substantiates each of the previous paragraph's broad admissions. For example, if the employee had admitted stealing $100 in cash from his terminal and another $100 using fraudulent refunds, there would be two paragraphs covering these theft admissions. This would then be followed by the substantiation of the $300 in merchandise with as many details as possible relating to the method of the theft, plus the types and quantities of merchandise stolen. 5. There may be other paragraphs that would link documents or evidence to the statement. If the associate had identified refunds he used to steal, it would be useful to have him initial those documents and date them. In this paragraph he would then note that he had identified the fraudulent documents initialing and dating those he identified as using to steal from the organization 6. There may be another paragraph relating to diagrams prepared by the employee to show how he concealed merchandise or removed merchandise from the facility. 7. Following the paragraph substantiating the admission, the employee is encouraged to write his reason for participating in the incidents and to express his regret for his actions if he wishes. Often the employee may choose to write his reasons for becoming involved and detail the personal issues contributing to his dishonesty. 8. This section of the statement establishes its voluntariness. The employee is asked whether the statements he made are true and whether any threats or promises were made to obtain them. His answer to that question is incorporated in this portion of the statement. 9. The employee, interviewer, and witness sign and number each page to include the date and time of the statement's completion. 10. The employee initials any scratch outs or changes he has made on each of the pages. Additional Elements Regardless of the type of statement chosen by an organization, the format and ultimate content of the final statement can be the same. However, there may be instances where the associate is not being clear in his writing. In these situations the interviewer may find it useful to write five or six specific questions that clearly establish the elements of the crime or policy violation and then ask the associate to write his answers after each question. The interviewer may also find it useful to take a statement from the witness who sat in on the interview. The witness is asked to write a detailed summary of what occurred during the interview, including a description of the interviewer's and employee's demeanor. The witness can also initial and sign the interviewer's notes just as the employee did to attest to their accuracy and completeness. This additional statement will serve to document what went on during the interview and act as a source of review for the witness should he be required to testify. While the formatting and content of the final statement is relatively straightforward, we have not addressed the continued problems of inadequate statements provided by investigators. In our next column we will look at some of the reasons why statements are inadequately prepared and how this might be rectified. One of the areas that we plan to spend a significant portion of the column on is the clarity and meanings of sentences within the final statement. We will focus on how to introduce the written statement, how to format, and obtain the employees cooperation in its preparation. 14 JULY - AUGUST 2014 | LPPORTAL.COM

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