The British Security Industry Association (BSIA) has partnered with the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU) to launch a short animation video as part of concerted ongoing efforts to educate members of the public about how they can help to keep their communities safe from Cash-in-Transit robberies, and particularly so during the Christmas period. The animation, which is set to be shared with all UK police forces, partner agencies and the wider public, highlights the consequences of such robberies and the importance of working together to tackle this dangerous form of criminality.
Officers from across the North West, the West Midlands and the Metropolitan Police Flying Squad have joined forces with the North West ROCU and the security industry to deliver the video and key messaging.
During the Christmas period, officers from the six North West forces (ie the Cheshire Constabulary, Cumbria Police, Greater Manchester Police, the Lancashire Constabulary, Merseyside Police and North Wales Police) will be putting extra resources in place and employing a range of tactics to escort security vehicles as they carry out their normal deliveries.
These tactics include using armed police officers in vehicles to escort high-risk security vehicles as they carry out cash deliveries, CCTV monitoring and patrol cars following cash-handling vehicles. In addition, all cash containers will include either Smartwater or a dye which will be released when the containers are forcibly opened, marking the banknotes contained within such that they’re both unusable and traceable.
Nationally, there has been significant success in combating Cash-in-Transit robberies with 66 offenders being convicted and sentenced to more than 500 years in prison since last year.
No room for complacency
Sarah Staff, head of SaferCash at the BSIA, said: “Although we’ve seen a reduction in Cash-in-Transit robberies in recent years, we’re not complacent. We’re committed to working with police forces to make sure criminals don’t see these type of offences as an easy way in which to make money, because they most definitely are not. The new animation aims to educate the public about Cash-in-Transit robberies, its effects on the victim and on the wider community and, more importantly perhaps, how members of the public can help catch and convict these criminals and keep their local communities safe.”
Jayne Meir, commercial robbery lead for the National Police Chiefs’ Council, added: “I would like to extend my full support to this important and innovative campaign. The safety and security of the men and women who work in the Cash-in-Transit industry is paramount and our UK police forces are committed to working in partnership with the professional security industry in tackling this area of crime. By dint of members of the public reporting a suspicious incident or criminal action, they’re assisting in apprehending criminals who have no regard for the effect these crimes have on individuals.”
Chief Inspector Mike Ankers from the ROCU’s Regional Intelligence Unit commented: “Our message to those planning on carrying out Cash-in-Transit robberies in the run-up to Christmas is clear. We will find you and we will make sure you spend this Christmas and many more to come behind bars away from your family and loved ones. Robberies that target cash vehicles, banks, Post Offices and commercial businesses are often violent offences that can result in life-changing mental and physical scars on those who find themselves on the receiving end.”
Ankers continued: “This is by no means a victimless crime. These robberies can cause deep distress for those bearing the brunt of the attacks who are just trying to earn an honest living. The North West ROCU, together with the six police forces in the North West, is committed to cracking down on the criminals who render the lives of people making an honest living in the security and commercial industries a misery. We will continue to use all the powers available to us to target these criminals, prevent offences and bring those responsible to justice.”
Reach of social media
Gareth Skinner, chair of the Cash-in-Transit Section at the BSIA, explained: “We want to spread the message that these are not victimless crimes. They are often violent offences that can result in life-changing mental and physical scars for those who find themselves confronted by these criminals. As more and more people are now using social media for their daily news and updates, this is an ideal opportunity to launch an initiative such as this and ensure we’re reaching the right audience. Our communities can play an important role in helping us all to stay safe.”
Skinner added: “We were delighted to work with SaferCash, the police and our industry colleagues on developing this innovative campaign and believe it will have a positive impact in raising awareness and reducing the levels of Cash-in-Transit crime committed on our employees, vehicles and customer premises.”
Rodger Holden, director of business development at the independent charity Crimestoppers, stated: “We know that sometimes people are reluctant to speak up when they have information about a given crime. This could be due to loyalties to those involved or because of fear of revenge and reprisals. The Crimestoppers charity is here to help. If you have information, but wish to remain completely anonymous, you can call us on 0800 555 111 or use our anonymous online form at Crimestoppers-uk.org. We’ve always kept our promise of anonymity to everyone who contacts us. Together, we can help protect our communities.”
Sharing key intelligence
In partnership with the security industry, all North West police forces will continue to share intelligence and provide assistance for cross-border deliveries throughout the Christmas period and in the following months.
The police service is asking members of the public to be vigilant and help stop the violence by reporting any suspicious activity in the run-up to the festive season to their local force by calling 101.
Alternatively, if individuals prefer not to speak to the police directly, they can stay 100% anonymous with the independent charity Crimestoppers. Call the 24/7 UK Contact Centre on 0800 555 111 or use the anonymous online form at Crimestoppers-uk.org.