Despite attack levels reaching an all-time low in 2013, falling victim to violence and robbery remains a very real threat for the security sector’s dedicated Cash-in-Transit couriers. With interim reports for 2014 suggesting crime figures within this sector are in danger of rising, the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) plans to continue its work aimed at reducing the risks faced by couriers as they fulfil this essential public service.
Transporting around £500 billion every year – the equivalent to a staggering £1.4 billion every day, in fact – the UK’s Cash-in-Transit industry performs an essential public service, keeping cash moving around the country and supporting banks, retailers and businesses alike by facilitating millions of transactions on a daily basis.
However, the large amount of money and valuables involved renders Cash-in-Transit couriers particularly vulnerable to attempted robberies and often violent assaults.
In 2013, the number of attacks perpetrated on cash couriers reached a record low, with just 270 attacks taking place. That figure is 30% less than in 2012, in fact, and represents an impressive 75% decrease on the all-time high of 1,060 attacks recorded back in 2009. Despite this reduction, though, couriers remain vulnerable to attack, particularly when carrying cash across the pavement from their secure vehicle to the client’s premises.
Serious injury remains a very real threat. Overall injury rates have decreased since 2012, but almost a quarter of attacks in 2013 (24%) resulted in some kind of physical harm being done to the couriers involved. In addition, the proportion of attacks where firearms were used (or their use was intimated) rose from 10% in 2012 to 14% in 2013.
Partnership approach involving Government and the police service
Reducing the risks faced by cash couriers remains a key focus of the partnership approach taken by the private security industry – in conjunction with the Home Office and police forces across the country – to tackle Cash-in-Transit crime. With 2014’s figures indicating some slight month-on-month rises in the number of attacks carried out on cash couriers, the commitment of all stakeholders to the continuation of this partnership approach has arguably never been more important.
Steve Hurst, the head of SaferCash, commented: “For couriers going about their daily duties these attack figures can never be far from their minds. It’s for this very reason that we as an industry, along with our colleagues in Government and police forces across the country, cannot afford to rest on our laurels.”
Established in 2007, SaferCash is a security initiative which aims to reduce the number of attacks on cash couriers through the effective sharing of intelligence between members of the Cash-in-Transit industry and police forces nationwide. Operated by the BSIA, SaferCash provides a national framework for information and intelligence sharing between individual police forces and operational security personnel, while also affording essential and immediate support for Cash-in-Transit crew members who may have witnessed a suspicious incident or activity.
Establishing a partnership between industry and the police service has given SaferCash the ability to identify linked offences and spot where organised crime groups are active across force boundaries. In the case of Cash-in-Transit, these groups are operating on an increasingly nationwide basis, impacting on local communities and often using the proceeds of their crimes to fund other criminal enterprises such as drug dealing or human trafficking.
Keeping couriers safe is the key objective of SaferCash. With most robberies and attacks on couriers taking place as they cross the pavement, it’s essential to minimise the distance couriers have to travel between the secure vehicle and the delivery premises. This means that many vehicles are forced to park illegally in order to make safe deliveries.
The impact of robberies in the Cash-in-Transit sector is most keenly felt by those who suffer directly as a result of attacks. It’s the protection of victims and the prevention of future attacks which most vehemently demonstrates the need for all stakeholders to remain committed to reducing the level of Cash-in-Transit crime.
For more information about the BSIA’s Cash and Valuables in Transit Section visit: http://www.bsia.co.uk/cash-and-valuables-in-transit