ACAPMA recently attended the NSW Robbery and Serious Crimes Squad Advisory Council Meeting with NSW Police where robbery trend, statistics and control measures were discussed across a range of industries at the highest levels.  While overall robbery rates are down across the State there are some learnings for the retail fuel industry as well as the wider business community.

The NSW Robbery and Serious Crimes Squad Advisory Council Meeting brings together stakeholders from a variety of industries including; banking, cash in transit, licenced venues and clubs, supermarkets, jewellery outlets and service stations.  The Squad brings together the area commanders from the different State areas and provides the Council with valuable insights into current trends.  The Council Meeting itself allows for industry updates and information sharing on target hardening and successful robbery deterrent activities.

This most recent Council Meeting statistics presented focused on the year 1/7/2017-30/6/2018 and showed an overall decline in robbery rates across the State by 4%, with commercial break and enter rates also declining by 6% (and more than 50% compared to 10 years ago).  Incidents in the Central Metro Area were down by 10% and those in the Mt Druitt area were down by 24%.

Businesses and commercial property robberies account for 20.6% of all robberies in the State.

In the petrol and convenience area there has been an overall increase in robbery rates.

Service station incidents, representing 26.8% of all of the incidents in commercial businesses, went against the general downward trend with an increase of 17.2% in the year to 30/6/2018.

ACAPMA’s Council Member, Elisha Radwanowski noted “While there has been an increase in the number of incidents at service station locations it is encouraging to see that the cash values of the robberies have been lower than seen historically, highlighting the fact that as an industry cash control and safe drops are reprinting best practice, with the average cash stolen amounting to $200.”

Convenience store incidents, representing 28% of all incidents in commercial businesses, also went against trend with an increase of 27.8% increase in the year to 30/6/2018.

“While the average amount of cash taken in convenience store incidents was higher than in service station incidents the common thread is the targeting of tobacco” Mrs Radwanowski continued.

Tobacconists have also become active targets, while representing only 3.1% of all incidents in commercial businesses, the number of incidents to 30/6/2018 represents a 1500% increase over the previous year.

“Tobacco remains a target for criminal activity.  As an industry we have done well to commit to best practice safe drops and thereby reduce the amount of cash available, thereby making the businesses a less attractive target, however tobacco is an ongoing issue.  Operators are reminded to ensure that tobacco safes are always locked and that restocking is undertaken in small manageable batches” continued Mrs Radwanowski.

The majority of incidents were with a sharp implement (70.6%) with blades featuring highly, however Axes and other implements also noted.  Incidents with firearms amounted to 15.6% of all armed incidents.

“Lock up rates remain stable, which represents an increase in real terms given the overall decrease in incidents.  From the petrol convenience perspective the Squad has advised that there are two key barriers to the identification and lock up of offenders, those are the poor quality of CCTV footage and the premature supply of CCTV footage to the media.  Operators are reminded that the CCTV footage in any incident is a key piece of evidence, and that sites should consult with the investigating officers before providing footage to comment to the media to ensure that they do not unintentionally hinder the investigation” explained Mrs Radwanowski.

The Council Meeting also heard from officers on the increased risks posed by utilising unlicensed operators in the cash in transit area.  Discussions highlighted that operators who do not utilise professional licenced security guards and cash in transit services would be subject to higher levels of scrutiny from safety regulators in the event of an incident.

“ACAPMA will be working with the Squad over the coming weeks to develop guidance material for sites on ideal quality levels for CCTV footage as well as resources to utilise post incident” explained Mrs Radwanowski.

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