As we move into the peak season for attacks on merchandise and cash delivery vehicles, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) is launching a set of security guidelines to help retailers and couriers to thwart robbers. While other categories of reported serious and violent crime have been declining, the number of ‘Cash and Valuables in Transit’ (CVIT) robberies is increasing. In the first ten months of 2009 there were 911* of these offences in the UK, 15 per cent more than the 791 in the same period in 2008. In 2008 the last three months of the year saw the highest monthly totals and the same pattern is expected this year.

Of the attacks 35 per cent were on deliveries to retailers with the street the commonest place. It’s estimated that up to £2 billion of cash and valuables is transported in the UK each day.

The BRC guidance provides a ‘checklist’ for retailers to assess their anti-robbery measures against. They cover areas including providing secure locations for cash transfers and vehicles, designing out across the pavement movements, refining security procedures and reducing the incentive for these robberies by preventing criminals spending dye-stained, stolen notes.

In producing the guidelines, the BRC is dismissing the myth that these attacks are somehow ‘victimless’. They usually involve violence and serious injury resulting in lasting trauma.

British Retail Consortium Director General Stephen Robertson said: “This is retail crime at its most extreme. It often has devastating consequences for those involved and their families – long lasting trauma, permanent disability and occasionally even death. The fact that robbery is going up, while other violent crimes are falling, is a major concern. Encouraging retailers to use these guidelines to assess their processes and set-up can make a significant contribution to reducing the human and financial costs. I encourage every business concerned to use them fully and swiftly.”

Jude Brimble, National Officer of the trade union GMB said: “We welcome the British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) decision to launch best practice guidelines for the retail industry to tackle CVIT crime. We see this as a positive step forward in helping to reduce a growing trend of CVIT attacks within the retail industry. We believe retailers have a significant role to play in ensuring that best practice is adopted and promoted as widely as possible in an effort to contribute to reducing the risk and opportunity of CVIT attacks.”

British Security Industry Association Director, Tim Thomas, said: “Partnership work is essential to reducing cash-in-transit attacks and retailers have a vital role to play in achieving this. The BRC’s best practice guidelines will provide valuable guidance for the retail industry, covering the contribution that high street stores can make in enhancing procedures to reduce the risks faced by cash-in-transit couriers.”

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