St James police ready to deal with copycats going after cash couriers
Police at the scene of the attack on security guards on Sunday in Portmore, St Catherine. (Photo: Dashan Hendricks)

As armed robbers become more daring in targeting couriers providing cash to financial institutions, the police in St James are looking at initiatives to prevent similar incidents in the parish.

Officer in charge of operations at the St James Police Division Superintendent Eron Samuels told the Jamaica Observer that his team is on alert as they are aware that there are criminals who may want to copy what they see happening in other parishes.

"There are always copycats and the fact is we are in a dynamic field of security, so it is possible that persons may try these things," said Samuels as he noted that St James is already having its issues in terms of unwelcome violent situations.

"In recent times we had the break-in at the Hi-Lo Supermarket similar to what was being done across the country. We have had cases where bars have been broken into and gaming machines targeted and we recognise that it [could be] an islandwide syndicate as well," added Samuels.

SAMUELS... it is highly likely that something of this sort can happen but we are trying our best to get our members trained and prepared

In early February, thieves made off with more than $8 million in cash from an ABM in Darliston, Westmoreland.

More recently heavily armed thugs made off with more than $23 million after ambushing members of a security team who were about to service ABMs in Portmore, St Catherine.

This came less than a month after a similar attack was carried out on security guards, also in Portmore. In that incident, $10 million was taken from the security guards, with one guard fatally shot.

On Tuesday, a security guard was assaulted in the early hours of the morning as men tried to steal cash from an ABM in Mandeville, Manchester.

According to Samuels, the St James police would be working to ensure that they are ready to respond adequately and in a timely, efficient manner to any attempt to rob cash couriers in the parish

"It is highly likely that something of this sort can happen but we are trying our best to get our members trained and prepared to ensure to deal with this sort of situation," he said..

"We have the capacity; we may not be exactly on spot, but we will try to respond as quickly as possible and put our systems in place to ensure that we can address those issues," said Samuels, who urged security companies to examine their procedures in moving large amounts of cash.

"The security companies may have to change how they operate. We believe they need to have support for the armoured units while they are delivering. So when members are inside these armoured units and can't see properly what's on the outside, there needs to be team that supports them.

"When the couriers come out with the money they would already be protected by persons on the outside who would then signal that it is clear to come out. And if an attack is imminent they would have more persons to defend themselves from a 360 view than just the two persons," added Samuels.

He told the Observer that the police are ready to assist in patrolling these spaces, although it is dependent on other situations that can occur.

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