Hawks, banks join forces against heists

2011-11-24 14:31

Police have announced a partnership with the SA Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) to deal with cash-in-transit robberies.

A joint operational centre had been established to monitor cash delivery vehicles and swiftly respond to potential attacks, Hawks head Lieutenant-General Anwar Dramat told reporters today.

“We will have our police reaction teams and security companies ready to intervene immediately with aerial and ground support when a situation arises.”

The centre, based at the Hawks offices in Silverton, east of Pretoria, was being manned by police officers and representatives of security companies.

From the centre, “we are able to monitor the movements and provide instant and crucial support to cash-in-transit vehicles anywhere in South Africa,” Dramat said.

“This initiative is important for the wheels of the economy to run smoothly.”

He said the families of security guards now had an extra mechanism to ensure the safety of their relatives.

“We hope that husbands, fathers, mothers and children of these employees can now rest easy knowing that the police have an eye in the sky to monitor should something go wrong.”

Dramat said operations at the centre will be stepped up for the upcoming end of year holiday season.

“During this festive season, just like in the past, we know that criminals will look for many ways to find cash.

We are ready to disrupt and thwart their every effort.”

Sabric chief executive Kalyani Pillay said the centre, in use for a month already, had had significant success.

“We have certainly seen improved, quicker police response to reports of vehicle attacks,” she said.

“Even though there was an increase in cash-in-transit crimes for November, which is characteristic with this time of the year, the police have been able to respond very swiftly and we are pleased with the 22 arrests made this month.”

Pillay said the launch of the centre came at an opportune time as criminals intensified their activities around the festive season.

She appealed to the public to avoid getting close to cash-in-transit crews.

“It’s important for cash-in-transit crews to be able to do their work quickly, unimpeded and get back into their vehicles.”

She said in comparison to last year, there has been a 38% decrease in ATM attacks and heists, but this year’s figures were increasing from November.

“Despite the general annual decline across all other provinces in the country, we have noted an increase in Western Cape,” she said.

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