The British Security Industry Association (BSIA) is raising concerns on behalf of the Cash-in-Transit industry regarding proposed vehicle traffic and access restrictions in Rochdale town centre that have the potential to put cash couriers and the general public “at serious risk of harm”.
The restrictions, imposed by Rochdale Council and the Highways Department, make it impossible for Cash-in-Transit businesses to park in close location to their customers, meaning that couriers will need to travel greater distances on foot, increasing the potential risk of ambush from criminal gangs.
Already in 2018, there have been over 100 attacks on Cash-in-Transit crews which have involved violence and the use of weapons, resulting in some cases in serious injury to both the couriers and members of the public. With local councils increasing the number of pedestrianised areas and restricting access for legitimate vehicles needed to serve the local communities, this issue is becoming an even greater concern.
The BSIA is calling for consultation, transparency and collaboration between the industry and related stakeholders in order to agree safe and proportionate access and parking in order for couriers to carry out their jobs safely.
Reducing the risks
Gareth Skinner, head of operational risk at G4S, said: “Delivering cash is a dangerous job and the riskiest part is the time that our crews spend outside, carrying cash from the customer to our secure vehicles. We try to reduce the risks to our crew, customers and the general public by parking as close as possible to the customer’s premises such that our crews only ever have to walk a short distance. The further away a vehicle is parked, the greater the risk.”
Skinner continued: “Locating appropriate and safe parking to enable a short and suitable walking route to a customer’s premises that’s watched over by CCTV, in turn avoiding steps and stairs, blind spots and hiding places for would-be attackers proves very problematic. It’s critical that all stakeholders understand and take account of the risks in any decisions they make that impact on their ability for safe and appropriate access to parking.”
Sarah Staff, head of SaferCash, responded: “There’s a perceived illusion that a Cash-in-Transit attack is a victimless crime. Such attacks often involve serious injuries to retail staff, customers and Cash-in-Transit crew members. These crimes have a real impact on staff and local communities, and in many cases realise untold costs to both people’s lives, property and the industry.”
Staff added: “A fully-collaborative partnership approach is critical to tackling this kind of criminality. The industry, local councils and businesses as well as Government agencies need to recognise the unique and critical nature and purpose of delivering and collecting cash. We must demonstrate Best Practice and contribute towards the safety of Cash-in-Transit crews and the public to eliminate this type of criminality.”
Need to work together
James Kelly, CEO at the BSIA, observed: “Our members responsible for the safe delivery of cash play a major role in the mechanics of a vibrant High Street. High Streets in many parts of the UK are already suffering from the effects of online shopping and business rates. Access to cash continues to be a vital part of daily life, and ensuring that there’s enough in circulation is the role of Cash-in-Transit operations. A whole range of businesses need access to cash such that they can operate smoothly. It’s essential that these companies are able to carry out this critical operation without any risk to their staff or the public at large.”
Kelly concluded: “We urge Rochdale Council and the relevant stakeholders to work together in order to address the concerns of the industry and address this issue.”