SmartWater claims first Cash-in-Transit conviction
By Brian Sims
G4S Cash Services (UK) has welcomed news of the first Cash-in-Transit criminal to be convicted through forensic evidence using SmartWater, the state-of-the-art forensic technology.
At Wood Green Court, 21-year-old Ali Lwanga of Baron Walk, London E16 was found guilty of two counts of conspiracy to rob and one count of money laundering and concealing stolen property following a string of robberies across East London. The case against Lwanga was aided by irrefutable forensic evidence secured using SmartWater, an invisible liquid which can only be seen under ultraviolet light. Tim Ramm - G4S' regional risk director - was present in Court to witness the verdict.
Lwanga, who claimed he committed these crimes to pay off debts, had recruited a team of youths to carry out the robberies, allowing him to direct the attacks from a safe distance. Tests conducted by SmartWater scientists on recovered money and clothing provided the evidence linking Lwanga to at least four Cash-in-Transit robberies and three cases of money laundering. G4S has partnered with SmartWater Technology in incorporating the new product within a variety of anti-theft systems and cashboxes to protect cash delivery couriers. The UK-wide partnership is the first of its kind involving a Cash-in-Transit organisation.
Linking offenders with the attack
In use, SmartWater enables the police service to directly link an offender with a specific attack. Criminals who break into a G4S cashbox unavoidably become contaminated by SmartWater, which cannot be seen by the naked eye but remains traceable for up to six months. Speaking about the conviction, Adam Miller - risk director at G4S Cash Services (UK) said: "This conviction is testament to the excellent work of the Metropolitan Police Service. We thank them for their diligence in pursuing the perpetrators of this crime. Over the last decade, the Cash-in-Transit industry has seen a marked increase in the number and severity of criminal attacks perpetrated on couriers. With a 100% conviction rate, SmartWater technology should be a major deterrent to those considering attacking a Cash-in-Transit courier." Miller continued: "The partnership with SmartWater is just one of several proactive initiatives we are taking in association with police forces and other key stakeholders such as the British Security Industry Association (BSIA), the GMB Trade Union, banks and retailers to curtail the number of attacks taking place."
Valuable for detection and prevention
Investigating officer DC Laurie Bays of the Barking Flying Squad added: "This is the first time SmartWater evidence has been presented during a trial to help us convict a Cash-in-Transit robber. The technology's proving to be an extremely valuable tool in both detecting and preventing crime. We hope this conviction will serve as a warning to other potential criminals." DC Bays continued: "The Flying Squad and Operation Vanguard are achieving a 65% detection rate for Cash-in-Transit robberies, which means there's better than a one-in-two chance of being caught for this crime. The introduction of SmartWater can only improve that statistic, and ensure that criminals are convicted and punished when arrested." Operation Vanguard is a Flying Squad initiative aimed at tackling robberies from Cash-in-Transit (CIT) vehicles and commercial premises alike. It has been running since November 2006, and is intelligence-led. High visibility policing coupled with covert techniques are being used to deter attacks as deliveries are made.
£100 million crime prevention investment
It has been said before but it's worth reiterating that the Cash-in-Transit industry is vital to the economic liquidity of the UK, where cash remains the consumer's preferred method of payment. The industry transports something in the region of £500 billion per annum, employs around 8,000 couriers boasts a fleet of some 4,000 vehicles. The SmartWater initiative is one of a number of steps being taken by G4S and the industry as a whole to reduce the number of attacks against the Cash-in-Transit industry. G4S alone has invested around £100 million over the past five years in crime prevention measures such as armoured vehicles, body armour and innovative technology.
Contact: Gary Smith, GMB National Secretary on 07710 618909 or GMB Press Office: Steve Pryle on 07921 289880 or Rose Conroy on 07974 251823.