Officers from the North West’s six police forces (Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside and north Wales) have joined forces with the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU) and the security industry to launch a joint operation targeting cash-in-transit and ATM robberies in the run-up to Christmas.
The action will be co-ordinated by the ROCU, the regional collaboration to tackle serious and organised crime groups involved in drug trafficking, firearms, armed robberies, aggravated burglaries and other serious crimes.
The regional campaign which launched on Tuesday 8th December will see officers using high-visibility and covert patrols on the ground to enable security vehicles to carry out their normal deliveries, protect businesses, as well as raising awareness across the region on social media.
Forces will use a number of tactics such as the use of armed police vehicles escorting high-risk security vehicles as they carry out cash deliveries, CCTV monitoring and patrol cars following cash-handling vehicles. In addition, all cash containers will include DNA marking solutions or a dye, which will be released when they are opened, marking the notes so they are both unusable and traceable.
The six forces have all signed up to ATMosphere – a national operation created in partnership with the British Security Industry, which provides standard guidance to forces to enable them to develop closer working relationships with local communities and businesses to combat ATM crime.
ATM robberies can take many forms including using combustible gas to blow up cash machines, as well as robberies where the ATM is dragged from the wall or broken into with cutting equipment.
This action follows significant success since 2019 in combating cash-in-transit and ATM robberies across the region with more than 160 offenders being convicted and sentenced to more than 1,000 years in prison.
Detective Chief Inspector Mike Ankers the ROCU’s Regional Intelligence Unit, said: “The region has seen a significant fall in cash-in-transit robberies in recent years but we are not complacent and we are determined to make sure criminals do not see these types of offences as easy ways to make money, because they most definitely are not.
“Whilst Cash in Transit and ATM robberies have reduced across the North West, we will not rest on our laurels and we will continue to work with the six North West police forces and our partners in the Security Industry to share intelligence provide assistance and ensure we continue to see year on year reductions.
“Robberies that target Cash in Transit vehicles, banks, post offices and commercial businesses are often violent offences that can result in life-changing mental and physical scars to those at the brunt of the attacks, who are just trying to make an honest living.
Sarah Staff, Head of SaferCash, a security initiative hosted by the British Security Industry Association, said: “We really welcome opportunities to work alongside police forces in the North West region and fully support this proactive Christmas campaign. Our members continued to strive to reduce the number of Cash in Transit robberies and ATM attacks with enhanced physical security systems, with the collaborative efforts of UK Policing. The supply of cash and the availability of ATMs are often the lifelines of local communities especially during the past 12 months. These types of attacks are not victimless crimes and often result in the temporary closure of banks, retail stores and ATMs creating a profound impact to all affected, whether owner, employee or member of the community.
The collaboration between the police and the security industry through SaferCash has been in place for many years. This strong working partnership is a real testimony to collectively tackling crime, with a focus on crime prevention in addition to the excellent enforcement work by the police. This has resulted in many convictions and a significant disruption of organised crime.
We will endeavour to continue to support the police in any way we can, helping to reduce these attacks and prevent any stolen money being used to fund other serious and organised crime which in turn affects so many lives. I would encourage anyone with information relating to ATM or Cash in Transit crime to call Crimestoppers, a national crime prevention charity on 0800 555 111, to help the police combat this area of crime.”
Detective Chief Inspector Clare Coleman, from Cheshire Constabulary, said: “Here in Cheshire we are committed to doing all we can to tackle incidents of this nature.
“However, criminals do not stop when they reach the border, which is why it is more important than ever before that we work closely with our partners to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.
“We have already had significant success, with a number of high profile convictions, and I have no doubt that this operation will further assist our goal of helping to make Cheshire a safer place to live, work and visit.”