Despite attack levels reaching an all-time low in 2013, falling victim to attack and robbery remains a very real threat for the security industry’s cash-in-transit couriers. With interim reports for 2014 suggesting that crime figures are in danger of rising, the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) plans to continue its work to reduce the risk faced by couriers as they fulfil this essential service.
Transporting around £500 billion every year – the equivalent to £1.4 billion every day – the UK’s cash-in-transit industry performs an essential public service, keeping cash moving around the country, supporting banks, retailers and businesses by facilitating millions of transactions every day. However, the large amount of cash involved makes cash-in-transit couriers particularly vulnerable to robbery and attack.
In 2013, the number of attacks on cash-in-transit couriers reached a record low, with just 270 attacks taking place, 30% less than in 2012, and an impressive 75% decrease on the all-time high figure of 1060 attacks in 2009. Despite this reduction, couriers remain vulnerable to attack, particularly when carrying cash across the pavement from the secure vehicle to their client’s premises.
Despite an overall reduction in the number of attacks, serious injury is still a very real threat; overall injury rates decreased since 2012, almost a quarter of attacks in 2013 (24%) resulted in some kind of injury, and the proportion of attacks where firearms were used or intimated rose from 10% in 2012 to 14% in 2013.
Alongside the Home Office, the BSIA commissioned research to assess the nature of cash and valuables in transit offences. Findings suggested that despite the ongoing risk of serious injury to couriers, offenders still perceive cash-in-transit robbery to be a business crime, with no real impact on individuals. Following interviews carried out with convicted criminals as part of the research, it appears that “offenders (especially those who are younger and newer to the crime) perceive CViT robbery to be a victimless crime, and they use this to justify their actions.”
Reducing the risk faced by couriers remains a key focus of the partnership approach taken by the private security industry – alongside 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 on couriers, the commitment of all stakeholders to the continuation of this partnership approach has never been more important.
Steve Hurst, Head of SaferCash, says: “For couriers going about their daily duties, these attack figures can never be far from their minds, and it is for this 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-in-transit couriers through the effective sharing of intelligence between 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 security personnel, while providing essential and immediate support for cash-in-transit crews who witness a suspicious incident.
Establishing a partnership between Industry and Police has given SaferCash the ability to identify linked offences and spot where organised crime groups (OCGs) 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 crime to fund other criminal enterprises such as drugs or human trafficking.
Keeping couriers safe is the key objective of SaferCash’s work. With most robberies and attacks on couriers taking place as they cross the pavement, it’s essential to minimise the distance that they have to travel between the CVIT vehicle and the delivery premises, meaning that many vehicles are forced to park illegally in order to make safe deliveries.
The impact of robbery such as these is most keenly felt by those who suffer directly as a result of the attack, and it is the protection of victims and 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.