Police set to shadow cash delivery trucks
Police are to tail cash delivery trucks on their Christmas rounds across Birmingham to protect them from armed ambushes by gun-toting gangs.
It is feared that violent thugs could target security vans during the festive period, traditionally the busiest time of the year for the cash handling industry.
Now patrolling police cars not answering emergency calls are being told to shadow the delivery trucks to ensure they are not attacked.
The ‘Follow that Van, Watch that Delivery’ initiative will also see uncommitted officers and community support officers on the beat patrol outside shops and banks when deliveries are taking place.
West Midlands Police said the escort scheme was designed to increase the safety of deliveries and deter criminals from striking.
Det Chief Insp Neil Evans said: “It is about maximising police patrols and visibility when cash in transit vans are travelling between deliveries and making them.
“We aim to provide a visible deterrence and maximise the amount of intelligence we gather.
“Over recent years there has been a significant reduction in offences involving cash in transit vans. The force, in partnership with the industry, is working hard to ensure that this remains the case, particularly on the run up to Christmas.
“The cash in transit industry plays an important role in everyone’s lives ensuring for instance, there is cash for us to withdraw from banks and cash machines. Therefore, it is important for us to continue this good work.”
According to the latest figures, the number of offences has fallen from a high of 72 in 2003/04 to 38 in 2007/08. There has been a slight increase this year which police are determined to reverse.
The high-visibility ‘Follow that Van, Watch that Delivery’ is one strand of the West Midlands Police campaign to tackle so called cash-in-transit robberies, that will see covert operations and swoops on suspects.
Officers have been working with the British Security Industry in the operation, launched following a series of apparently unconnected hold-ups across the city.
In recent years security guards have come under fire from gangs willing to use extreme violence to get their hands on cash boxes that could contain thousands of pounds.
Last Wednesday, an armed robber opened fire during a hold-up on a security guard making a cash drop at a post office in Stotfold Road, off Alcester Road South, Maypole.
Police believe the robber had lain in wait for the delivery truck to arrive. The guard was forced to hand over a cash box containing what police described as a “large quantity of cash”.