29 March 2019

Police launch guidebook to help Canberra businesses thwart armed robberies

| Lachlan Roberts
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The new guidebook for businesses. Photo: Supplied by ACT Policing

ACT Policing has launched a new guidebook for businesses and clubs to help prevent crime and increase the safety of staff and patrons, following a spate of aggravated robberies across clubs in the ACT 12 months ago.

The guidebook, titled ACT Policing Aggravated Robbery Prevention Booklet, focuses on prevention, building security, cash handling, staff training, as well as what to do during and after a robbery.

Clubs across the territory were the targets of a string of aggravated robberies and burglaries in the past decade, with police revealing 14 aggravated robberies and burglaries across the ACT in the last decade were committed by the same “violent, greedy thugs”.

A year ago, clubs were exasperated with what they call a growing epidemic of armed robberies in the ACT but Detective Acting Station Sergeant Morgwn Saunders believed ACT Policing’s increased work with stakeholders has helped curb the issue.

The 2017-18 ACT Policing Annual Report showed there were 117 armed robberies during the last financial year, 14 less than the previous year.

“Any business or member of the community who falls victim to a violent crime is a priority for ACT Policing,” Detective Acting Station Sergeant Saunders said.

“I think that is reinforced by our ongoing relationship with Clubs ACT, Canberra Labor Club group and other stakeholders.

“That is reflected in the statistic that shows since the 6th of February last year, we haven’t had an aggravated robbery at an ACT licenced premise.

“There was an attempted aggravated robbery at the Mawson Club, but we haven’t had a successful aggravated robbery because of the tightening of these procedures and engagement we have with our business stakeholders.”

Detective Acting Station Sergeant Morgwn Saunders said businesses can use the strategies in the booklet to minimise the incidence and impact of an aggravated robbery.

“Aggravated robberies are serious and dangerous crimes that can cause long term emotional and psychological distress to victims,” Detective Acting Station Sergeant Saunders said.

“Robbery offenders are motivated by easy money – their aim is to get in and out of the premises as quickly as possible.

Uniformed members of ACT Policing presenting a copy of the Booklet to a Duty Manager at the City Labor Club. Photo: Supplied by ACT Policing.

“No amount of money, however, is worth risking the life of your staff or your customers.

“Having proactive, well planned and strictly followed procedures such as those found in this booklet can reduce the risk of an aggravated robbery and ensure the safety of those present.”

Detective Acting Station Sergeant Saunders said it was important for businesses to conduct a thorough security assessment of their premises before an incident occurs.

“A strong approach to prevention is an important aspect of reducing the risk of aggravated robberies,” he said.

“Take some time to conduct a business security assessment using our recommendations. Simple steps such as ensuring your CCTV system is up to date and operating properly can act as a deterrent, or greatly assist a police investigation if an incident occurs.”

Clubs ACT chief Gwyn Rees welcomed the booklet and believed it will help clubs across the territory mitigate aggravated robberies.

“12 months ago, we saw a spate of crimes hit clubs that we hadn’t seen before,” he said. “We worked with ACT Policing on looking at strategies to harden the targets, like CCTV, ATMs and a number of strategies.

“This document is a culmination of great work from ACT police and it will provide practical solutions to club staff in dealing with this kind of crime.

“It will be distributed to clubs widely and we will be looking to encourage our staff to really get across the details and understand what is involved in mitigating this type of crime.”

The booklet can be found by clicking here.

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Step 1. Don’t open a business in Tuggeranong or Mitchell.

Step 2. Don’t annoy the local Motorcycle gangs.

Step 3. Return to step 1.

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