Police across the North-west are stepping up patrols to prevent cash delivery vans being targeted by robbers in the run-up to Christmas.
Detectives from ‘Titan’, the regional organised crime unit, are working alongside officers from Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Cheshire, Cumbria and North Wales to combat the threat.
Uniformed officers will be routinely following vans delivering and collecting cash from ATMS and to banks and post offices to ensure that security guards can do so safely during their busiest time of the year.
The number of ‘cash in transit robberies’ has fallen in all force areas since 2009 thanks to greater sharing of intelligence between the police and the cash companies, improved security measures in the vans to protect the cash, and police operations such as Operation Guardian in Merseyside and Operation Vault in Lancashire.
In 2009 there were 189 across the region compared to 50 in this calendar year.
However attacks still occur, particularly in Greater Manchester and Merseyside, and Titan is working with individual forces and the security industry to target the gangs responsible and stop employees and businesses suffering from these crimes.
Detective Inspector Jon Smith from Titan’s regional intelligence unit, said:
“Cash in transit robberies have greatly reduced in recent years but they still remain a priority for the police and are extremely serious crimes. The victims are just ordinary members of the public doing their job yet an attack can have lasting physical and psychological damage. Innocent members of the public can get caught up in the incident and also be affected, as can staff working at the business where the cash was being delivered to or collected from.
“Investigations into these crime by local forces have had some great successes and have resulted in offenders being jailed for up to ten years. Our intelligence shows that offenders are working as organised criminal groups who are travelling from one part of the region to commit crimes in another, which means that it is in everyone’s interests to tackle this threat together.
“Detectives at Titan work closely with SaferCash analysts and security experts to spot similarities between robberies across the region both in terms of the offenders themselves and how they carry out their attacks. We also link in with investigation teams in each force to support their extensive efforts to catch the offenders.
“We are committed to using a number of different methods to protect cash deliveries and make it as difficult as possible for criminals this Christmas.
“Patrols routinely follows vans to give a visible police presence during deliveries and police helicopters can be deployed to neighbouring areas to pursue offenders, leaving them nowhere to hide.
“There are also devices to protect the cash, including dyes which stain notes rendering them useless and stain skin and clothing too/ It means criminals are taking a significant risk of being caught if they chose to commit this type of crime this Christmas.”
Det Ch Insp Colin Radcliffe from Merseyside Police added: “Here in Merseyside we run Operation Guardian throughout the festive period to protect cash delivery vehicles, the guards themselves and the wider public.
“The attacks have fallen on Merseyside year on year thanks to a number of criminal gangs being caught and jailed following successful investigations by our Matrix Serious Organised Crime unit.
“However we cannot be complacent and during December our mobile patrols will be following cash vans on a daily basis wherever in Merseyside they are working and this should act both as a deterrent to would-be criminals as well as a reassurance to the public who should never have to witness this kind of traumatic incident.”
Supt Simon Giles, of South Division, Lancashire Police, said: “We are stepping up our fight against criminals who carry out robberies of commercial and financial premises.
“In the run-up to the festive period many businesses enjoy an increase in takings and we want to ensure that it is the business that benefits from this financial boost rather than a burglar or robber who may seek to take this as an opportunity for unlawful gain.
“We want to raise awareness of such crimes to encourage businesses to take crime prevention steps to avoid becoming a victim.
“Police patrols will routinely be deployed across the county to monitor cash deliveries and collections and, if local businesses want the support of the police, they should let us know.”
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