‘Splash the cash’ to help thwart robbers

Criminals who target cash deliveries in West Yorkshire will now be easier for the police to track down following the introduction of a hi-tech marking system called SmartWater into cashboxes.

Feb 28, 2008
By Paul Jacques
Police Ombudsman Marie Anderson

Criminals who target cash deliveries in West Yorkshire will now be easier for the police to track down following the introduction of a hi-tech marking system called SmartWater into cashboxes.

West Yorkshire Police has been working closely with cash courier G4S to introduce the specialist system that will spray the robbers and the stolen cash with liquid that contains a unique code specific to each individual cashbox.

Although invisible to the naked eye, SmartWater can be detected under UV light. Its use means investigating officers will be able to link suspects and any subsequently recovered cash directly to specific robberies by checking the tiniest speck against a central database.

The new marking fluid has been added to the dye packs which are already used in cashboxes to visibly stain the offender and the cash, rendering it worthless to them.

Detective Constable Nigel Smith, of the force’s intelligence bureau, said: “The force has run a number of successful operations targeting criminals involved in cash in transit robberies and our efforts have seen the number of offences cut by nearly a quarter.

“Obviously that work is continuing, and the introduction of this marking system will give a major boost to our investigations. It will be invaluable in helping us to track down those involved in cash in transit robberies. It gives us the ability to link suspects and any recovered cash directly to specific robberies.

“We are also convinced that its use by G4S across West Yorkshire will have a deterrent effect on those who commit these robberies. Anyone forcing open one of these cashboxes will be permanently marked, as will the cash they have stolen. Police custody areas are fitted with UV lights that can detect the substance on anyone brought in and officers have been issued with UV torches that they can use during their enquiries to check for traces on people or cash.”

Graham Hand, risk director, G4S Cash Services (UK), said: “Over the last decade, the CIT industry has seen a marked increase in the number and severity of criminal attacks against couriers. The deployment of SmartWater will be a major deterrent to those considering attacking a CIT courier.”

He added: “This is just one of a number of proactive initiatives we are taking in association with West Yorkshire Police and other key stakeholders such as the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) to curtail the growing number of violent attacks taking place on the cash-in-transit industry. Along with the support we have had from the police we are convinced that this initiative represents a real boost against crime.”

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