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August 13, 2008

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Union calls for more action to protect cash-in-transit couriers

The GMB union has welcomed the latest crime figures pointing to a fall in the number of attacks against cash-in-transit couriers, but insists that more must be done to protect workers.

According to the latest statistics from the British Security Industry Association (BSIA), the number of attacks against couriers fell by 29 per cent — from 617 to 436 — in the first six months of 2008, compared with the same period the previous year. The positive trend suggests that the launch in June last year of the Cash-in-transit Action Plan, which brought together the Home Office, Police, the GMB, and the banking, security and retail industries under a single framework for action, is yielding significant results.

However, while welcoming the success of the initiative, the GMB insisted it was just the starting point, and that all parties should work towards a “360-degree solution” that would make it all but impossible for criminals to carry out an attack and get away with it.

GMB national officer, Gary Smith, said attacks should be seen as crimes against a person not a business, and that the courts should deliver stiffer sentences. He also called on councils to implement changes to improve the safety of couriers.

“Local authorities need to make real changes on the issues of access and planning,” said Smith. “They need to stop issuing parking tickets to cash-in-transit vehicles and instead offer parking exemptions, enabling cash-in-transit couriers to park closer to their delivery point, and therefore allowing them to be at risk for a shorter time as they cross the pavement. This will allow couriers to do their job more safely and to get on with providing a valuable public service.”

Commenting on the figures, Home Office minister Vernon Coaker said: “Following a landmark agreement last year, we have been working hard with our partners in the police, security industry and trade unions to secure cash delivery facilities, share intelligence behind the scenes, and boost training for workers on the front line. These extremely encouraging figures show that effective partnerships can deliver results and drive down cash-in-transit robbery.”

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