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Clubs call for more police to deal with armed robbery ‘epidemic’

By Ian Bushnell - 7 February 2018 24

Raiders Weston Club was robbed again this week. Photo: Ian Bushnell.

Clubs are becoming increasingly exasperated with what they call a growing epidemic of armed robberies in the ACT, and are calling on the Government, police and the business community to come together to tackle the problem.

ClubsACT believes it is only a matter of time before a club staff member or patron is seriously injured, or even killed, unless more is done – including boosting police resources – to address the issue.

ClubsACT chief executive Gwyn Rees said the most recent robbery occurred early Tuesday morning, with thieves targeting a staff member of Raiders Weston after closing and forcing their way into the club and making off with cash.

“In the past 12 months, our local clubs have been the victims of robbers 20 times, in eight instances the offenders were armed. Staff and patrons face the daily risk of being confronted by a dangerous criminal holding a taser, knife or gun,” he said.

Mr Rees said more police resources were needed to boost patrols, respond effectively to calls and deter offenders, as well as bring them to justice.

The AFP Association believes Canberra needs an extra 200 police. Figures show Canberra has 680 police or 170 per 100,000, far fewer than NSW with 215 per 100,000 and Victoria (225). The Victorian Government has also pledged to boost police numbers by 20 per cent.

Armed robbery of Lanyon Vikings Club last October (still from CCTV footage).

Mr Rees said clubs were implementing more measures, including all-night security, early lockdowns, and facial recognition technology. Some clubs are even considering changing their operating hours. But he fears that as clubs harden their targets, criminals will look to other businesses.

“Without additional resourcing to get more police out on the streets, the threat of armed violence and theft remains worryingly real for those working in our local clubs. And our clubs are not alone, many other ACT businesses have also been the victim of armed criminals, such as local supermarkets, pharmacies and liquor stores,” he said.

“Clubs have taken all reasonable steps to keep their staff and patrons safe and deter thieves. Many of the security precautions they have implanted were devised with the advice of police, and we
thank them for this.
“However, this terrifying problem persists, and we would like more funding channeled to policing in the ACT to fight this crime wave and protect Canberra citizens.”

Mr Rees said statistics from the ACT Policing 2016-17 annual report showed armed robberies were on the increase and only around a quarter of offenders brought to justice.

He said ClubsACT was calling for a forum with the ACT Police Minister, the ACT Chief Police Officer, representatives from all clubs in the ACT, and from other impacted sectors and businesses to develop initiatives to tackle this growing epidemic.

Do you think increasing police numbers will help curb this ‘epidemic’? Share your thoughts with us by commenting below.

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24 Responses to
Clubs call for more police to deal with armed robbery ‘epidemic’
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Jill Dunster 10:09 am 10 Feb 18

Surely they make enough money from pokies to increase their security measures? An increase to police capabilities would come at a cost to tax payers. I'm not super keen for the tax I contribute to go towards further supporting clubs that extract huge amounts from the community via poker machines. They can afford it, and if they say they can't, they need to consider whether their businesses are viable. I'd argue that security is the responsibility of the business.

Robert Warn 12:24 pm 09 Feb 18

Better club security?

Ashley Latimer 3:35 pm 08 Feb 18

Crime in general is terrible around this part of Canberra, I manage several apartment complexes in Wright, and have had break-ins every weekend for the past 3 weeks.

Mark Casao 12:43 pm 08 Feb 18

How abouy create a community where people aren't desperate enough to rob a place?

Brian Ashcroft 12:38 pm 08 Feb 18

it would help if the quality of cctv footage was a better resolution-installations should be fully tax deductible, if not already

Charles Godworth 9:50 am 08 Feb 18

Allow accounts for pokie players. Winnings are credited back into the players account and they can top up their account via a phone app.

Suz Watson Locke 11:47 pm 07 Feb 18

Increase the budget for ACT Police instead of cutting it

Jenni Zimoch 10:55 pm 07 Feb 18

Close earlier and have a locked door you need to be buzzed through or use a card to open past 11 pm or so.

Geoffrey John Randal 10:44 pm 07 Feb 18

Ban pokies?

Ben Pipe 8:34 pm 07 Feb 18

Another reason to become a cashless society.

Gareth Rowlands 8:01 pm 07 Feb 18

Close them earlier and take out the pokies? Like that's going to happen 😂 Obvious thing would be more security I guess. That and better police intelligence

Trace Hawker 7:43 pm 07 Feb 18

Apart from 24hr security how about stiffer sentences in the Justice system. I'll lay odds on that some of these perps are already on bail. Seems to be a common occurrence here in the ACT.

Patrick J Pentony 7:04 pm 07 Feb 18

All businesses are targets these days, when I raised this issue with a passed local minister for police in Canberra, he told me not to worry as Canberra had a low crime rate. I’m sure every business owner I. Canberra is continually worried about their staff.

    David Murn 7:14 pm 07 Feb 18

    Those that handle hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash each day are bigger targets

    Patrick J Pentony 7:15 pm 07 Feb 18

    David Murn yes but people with desperate addictions are happy to get what ever they can

    Joanne Gallagher 8:15 pm 07 Feb 18

    I can assure you we do not hear about half the crime that happens in Canberra. For some strange reason there is radio silence on major crimes in the ACT.

Georgie Hartwell 6:15 pm 07 Feb 18

24hr security guard

    Matt Donnelly 12:04 pm 10 Feb 18

    How will this security guard repel multiple robbers who are threatening him with tazers, knives and guns?

    Bord Silver 1:45 pm 10 Feb 18

    Matt Donnelly Like the rest of us. He'll call the cops and wait for them to call him an ambulance and a cleaning crew to mop up the blood.

Michael Barnes 6:14 pm 07 Feb 18

How about the DNA marking system that dumps dye on you and brands you for weeks. Alternatively a gps tracking dart system. Laws need to change to stop protecting the people who are using real weapons, they are using them to not only threaten and intimidate but potentially injure or kill... Give the intruder a shot of gps darts on their way out the door that can be tracked live. This will stop them really fast!!!

Matthew Maddigan 6:09 pm 07 Feb 18

Give people a means to protect themselves, the police take 5-10 minutes arrive, by that stage it’s all over. They can’t help you.

Kristen Skinner 6:04 pm 07 Feb 18

No pokies.

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