30/09/2008

Cash Van Robberies Halved, Claims NIO

Despite news of an armed robber firing a shot into the air as he forced a guard to hand over a cash box yesterday in Co Tyrone, the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) has said that Cash-in-Transit (CIT) robberies are substantially down.

NIO Minister Paul Goggins, (pictured here in his role with the Organised Crime Task Force), announced that CIT robberies more than halved in Northern Ireland during 2007 after police, security companies and banks undertook a number of initiatives, including the setting up of a joint command centre at Newtownabbey, Co Antrim.

The Minister said that the number of attacks was cut from 51 in 2006 to 22 in 2007 and that, this year there have been 14 attacks, a reduction of 33% on the same period in 2007.

The Minister made the announcement during a visit to the Mallusk-based Command Centre where he also met and congratulated staff on their success.

Emphasising the importance of partnership working in tackling organised criminal gangs, Paul Goggins said: "Partnership working is at the core of the Organised Crime Task Force in confronting organised crime and the decrease in attacks on Cash-in-Transit vans demonstrates the success of this approach.

"I congratulate all those involved for their sterling efforts which sees CIT robberies halved in the past year.

"Real results have been delivered through the PSNI, CIT companies and banks working together. I would encourage other companies to work with the Organised Crime Task Force in making a difference."
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Ironically, given the conclusion of evidence by a key witness in the Northern Bank robbery trial in Belfast this week, which hinges on the illegal detention of the bank official's family to force him to load millions of pounds onto the robber's truck, Paul Goggins also took the opportunity to warn against so-called tiger kidnapping.

"Criminals are resorting to more ruthless methods through so-called tiger kidnapping. This targets hard-working men and women and their families in their own homes, puts lives at risk and should be utterly condemned.

"We are determined to eradicate this type of crime and would urge companies to work with us."

Also, yesterday, it emerged that a CIT delivery was targeted in Dungannon, with a robber making off with a cash box after firing a shot into the air.

In another part of the province, armed men have robbed a shop in Londonderry - the third such incident in the city in two weeks.

The owner was opening his premises at Elmwood Terrace at 7.30am today (Tuesday) when confronted by two masked men, one armed with a handgun.

He was told to face the wall while the men, who were wearing hooded tops and scarves, searched the counter area with both cash and cigarettes taken.

A shot was fired during a robbery at a city post office almost two weeks ago and on September 19, a member of staff was hit over the head when two men, one armed with a handgun, robbed a petrol station on Derry's Creggan Road.

See: 'ATM' Robbers Fire Shot

(BMcC)

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