Kent Police has picked up a prestigious award for its work to prevent cash machines being targeted by criminals across the county.

To complement the work already being done to tackle these offences, Superintendent Warren Franklin led a team of officers on a special project working with businesses and partner agencies in 2021 to risk assess the location of cash machines in the county and offer additional security advice where needed.

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Left-to-right: ACC Jayne Meir, Superintendent Warren Franklin and BSIA Director Sarah Staff

Crime reduction

Kent Police has received around 100 reports of cash machines being targeted since 2016. This is where criminals attempt to rip the machine from the wall using everything from tools, heavy plant machinery and explosive devices. Often these offences are committed by organised crime groups. By carrying out more preventative work, the number of attempts has reduced significantly in Kent from 22 incidents in 2020 to just 8 in 2021.

Recognition from the NPCC

The project was formally recognised by the National Police Chiefs’ Council at the British Security Awards, organised by the British Security Industry Association (BSIA), at the London Marriott Grosvenor Square on Wednesday 29 June 2022, where Supt Franklin picked up the NPCC Police Partnership Initiative Award. A plaque was presented to him by Assistant Chief Constable Jayne Meir from West Midlands Police who is the national lead for commercial robbery and selected this year’s winner.

Supt Franklin was delighted to pick up the award on behalf of Kent Police. He said: ‘Criminals who target cash machines rarely get away with cash but the damage they cause is significant for businesses and the impact to communities is far-reaching. We take incidents like this seriously due to the financial harm caused as well as the physical damage which can cause severe disruption to vital services that many people rely on. It was important for us to try and tackle these offences at the source and that starts with crime prevention.’

SaferCash

Kent Police worked alongside the BSIA’s intelligence sharing initiative, SaferCash, to locate and risk assess every cash machine in the county and give bespoke safety advice to businesses. During this process, officers looked at the positioning of cash machines, whether there are any physical barriers, the existing security measures, previous crimes in the area and weighed up how likely the stores were of becoming a victim of crime. Officers also looked at how close businesses were to building sites and plant machinery, which thieves often steal to carry out these destructive raids.

BSIA Director and Head of SaferCash, Sarah Staff, said: ‘I am delighted that the excellent work undertaken by Kent Police, led by Superintendent Franklin, has received this worthy recognition. Through SaferCash we aim to retain a strong collaboration between UK policing and our industry partners to support tackling these areas of crime and this crime prevention project has been really successful in addressing this. Well done to all those involved.’

Supt Franklin added: ‘Crimes of this nature are not unique to Kent, they are a national issue, and officers in our Serious Organised Crime team already work hard alongside other police forces to develop intelligence and ensure there is a joined-up approach to catching offenders across the country. However, this project has really opened our eyes to the challenges some businesses face with their locations and security arrangements, and it has better connected us to the work of SaferCash, which will overall improve the service we jointly offer. We will continue to work closely with shops and other businesses to encourage them to consider measures which can help to deter criminals. This can sometimes include making potential targets more resistant to attack or more difficult to damage, for example the installation of bollards or other barriers will often make it harder for plant machinery and vehicles to get close enough to cash machines.’

On behalf of the NPCC and SaferCash, this award was presented to Supt Franklin in recognition of his strong leadership skills and professionalism in creating and developing the project, which has been so successful that other forces across the country are taking a lead form Kent Police and plan to replicate this work in the future.

By Ed

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