KINGSTON, Jamaica – Following a spate of robbery attacks on courier guards and automated teller machines (ATMs), Commissioner of Police Major General Antony Anderson says technologies will be utilised to better secure the movement of large volumes of cash.
“There are technologies that we can implement for both the industry and the police to better secure this volume of cash. Clearly, we have a heavily cash-based economy and we’re very cognizant that the amount of cash in circulation and people’s desire to get cash and use it for their day-to-day business is still significant in Jamaica. We haven’t moved, in my mind, to a significantly cashless society,” said Anderson.
“So, in that handling of large amounts of cash, especially within the security industry, we need certain uniformity, standard operating procedures and just best practices implemented within the industry and then the communications between the industry and the JCF need to be supportive of a more secure environment,” Anderson said following a meeting with members of security company Beryllium Limited and the Jamaica Society for Industrial Security.
On Sunday, March 19, three Beryllium security guards were hospitalised in serious condition after they were shot during a gun fight with robbers at the Braeton Parkway Scotiabank in Portmore, St Catherine. Another guard suffered non-firearm related injuries in the incident. Police later confirmed that the robbers absconded with $23.2 million.
This is the third attack on Beryllium teams in just under a year, the second of which happened at the end of February when gunmen staged a brutal morning attack, also in Portmore, as personnel delivered cash to a Jamaica National Bank ATM in a nearby shopping centre. One Beryllium member was killed and two injured as the thieves made off with approximately $10 million.
Against this background, Anderson noted that investigators are working assiduously to solve the robbery cases and that suspected gangs are being monitored.
“We are monitoring a couple of gangs and we have persons in custody from those gangs, who have been involved in some of those robberies. Not just ones specifically on Beryllium recently, but generally on ATMs and other heavy cash robberies that have taken place over the past few months. Though we have persons in custody, once we implement some of the key technologies re the movement of cash, I believe that we should see the technology cause that type of robbery to become less attractive and make it easier for us to catch up with them,” he noted.