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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 April 2006, 11:33 GMT 12:33 UK
Rise in security van cash attacks
Security van
Millions of pounds have been stolen in attacks on security guards
The number of armed attacks on security guards collecting cash from banks and shops has risen by 12% since last year.

Figures show there were 226 "cash in transit" robberies in the first quarter of 2006, compared with 201 last year.

Some 15m was stolen in 836 attacks over 2005, with a quarter involving guns and 170 resulting in injury.

The GMB union and industry bosses want such attacks to be reclassified from business crimes to crimes against the person, carrying greater penalties.

'CASH IN TRANSIT' ROBBERIES
January to March 2006: 226 robberies across UK police forces
January to March 2005: 201
2005 total: 836
2004 total: 763
London's Metropolitan Police dealt with the most incidents in 2004 and 2005, and saw biggest increase, up 41 to 227 last year
Next highest totals in Merseyside, Greater Manchester and West Midlands
Big increase in robberies seen in Northern Ireland (up 16) and West Yorkshire (up 19)
Norfolk, Cleveland and Surrey forces all had just one incident each across 2004 and 2005

Figures from the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) figures show that in the last three years some 447 security guards have been injured - 58 of them seriously.

While the vans carrying the money, banks and shops are all becoming more secure, guards remain vulnerable when walking between the two.

Members of the public can also be put at risk as attacks take place in public areas, said BSIA.

Copycat robberies

Colin Baker, a security guard in the West Midlands, was shot by robbers as he walked between his van and a garage. He threw his bag of cash in the van and ran.

He told BBC Five Live he heard a bang, felt his leg go "dead" and fell to the floor.

"The gunman grabbed me by my helmet and then he cocked the gun, put the gun to my head and said I'm going to count to three, if you don't give me the money I'm going to blow you away.

I haven't worked since - [the attack] has ruined my life.
Colin Baker, security man

"I was literally waiting for it."

The BSIA and the GMB union want a higher priority given to cash in transit (CIT) robberies.

"Far from being victimless crimes, CIT attacks cause couriers trauma and, in some cases, serious injury.

"The cash stolen is often used to fund organised crime," said the BSIA.

They believe reclassifying the crime will make it a greater priority for police, and encourage retailers and bankers to make cash handovers more secure.

BSIA chief executive David Dickinson said an increase in the level of violence, often gratuitous, was "worrying".

"CIT couriers are being threatened, handing over cash and then being shot anyway," he said.

'Hole in the wall'

Crews have also been stabbed, and attacked with machetes and iron bars.

Colin Breen, a security consultant, told BBC Five Live the rise in attacks could be partially attributed to copycat robberies.

"Once one group of criminals discovers how it can be done and ... they see figures in local newspapers of the amount of money that has been involved then they think 'well I could do that'."

Mr Breen said companies needed to be more flexible, suggesting shopping centres allow security vans to reverse into "a hole in the wall so that there is no open area".

He added that there "must be a deterrent from courts".

"If they [attackers] feel they are going to go to jail for a very long time with no prospect of remission then it might make them think twice," he said.


"CASH IN TRANSIT" ROBBERIES PER POLICE FORCE
Listed by 2005 total
Force 2004 total 2005 total Change 2004/05 Jan-Mar 2005 Jan-Mar 2006
Metropolitan 186 227 +41 37 72
Merseyside 127 117 -10 37 19
Greater Manchester 134 116 -18 27 38
West Midlands 78 69 -9 16 21
Northern Ireland 46 62 +16 18 13
West Yorkshire 26 45 +19 12 11
Cheshire 19 20 +1 5 7
Essex 21 14 -7 4 9
Hertfordshire 8 14 +6 1 0
Lancashire 13 14 +1 4 7
Derbyshire 4 12 +8 2 3
Northamptonshire 6 12 +6 4 0
Staffordshire 11 11 0 4 1
British Transport Police 7 9 +2 5 0
Warwickshire 5 8 +3 0 2
West Mercia 1 8 +7 3 0
Avon & Somerset 3 7 +4 1 0
Nottinghamshire 8 7 -1 5 2
Northumbria 10 6 -4 2 5
Sussex 3 6 +3 3 3
Devon & Cornwall 1 5 +4 1 0
Kent 5 5 0 1 2
Leicestershire 1 5 +4 2 3
Cambridge 3 4 +1 1 0
South Wales 0 4 +4 2 0
Strathclyde 6 4 -2 3 1
Bedfordshire 2 3 +1 0 0
North Wales 3 3 0 0 0
Thames Valley 8 3 -5 0 0
Grampian 1 2 +1 1 0
Hampshire 3 2 -1 0 0
City of London 0 1 +1 0 0
Cumbria 2 1 -1 0 0
Dorset 1 1 0 0 0
Gwent 1 1 0 0 0
Humberside 3 1 -2 0 1
North Yorkshire 0 1 +1 0 0
South Yorkshire 4 1 -3 0 1
Suffolk 1 1 0 0 2
Surrey 0 1 +1 0 2
Cleveland 1 0 -1 0 1
Norfolk 1 0 -1 0 0
Total 763 836 +73 201 226
Source: British Security Industry Association




SEE ALSO:
Van driver kidnapped in shop raid
03 Apr 06 |  Coventry/Warwickshire
Robbed Securitas van is examined
10 Mar 06 |  Manchester


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