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Editor, IFSEC Global

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Adam Bannister was Editor of IFSEC Global from 2014 through to November 2019. Adam is also a former Managing Editor at Dynamis Online Media Group.
December 20, 2018

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The Video Surveillance Report 2022

cash machine crime

As ATM attacks soar the BSIA calls for harsher sentences

Harsher sentences should be handed down for attacks on ATM machines, says the British Security Industry Association (BSIA).

Welcoming a report that reveals a sharp rise in the problem, the BSIA said tougher penalties would act as a deterrent.

There were 723 ATM attacks in 2017, up from 400 in 2014, according to the report published by Cardtronics.

The report, Victimless Crime: the true impact of ATM crime on UK communities, predicted the number of attacks would more than triple by 2025.

“The length of the sentences should truly reflect the seriousness of these crimes and the impact that they have to each local community,” said Sarah Staff, head of SaferCash, on behalf of the BSIA. “We are also working with the private security industry, including the ATM manufacturers, suppliers and installers, to further strengthen the collaborative work with local police forces.”

Nearly half of all attacks – rising from 129 in 2014 to 342 in 2017 – were classified by Cardtronics as dangerous: ram-raids, gas explosions and other methods of blasting out the ATM using heavy force.

“Our members have seen a real spike in the level of ATM crime in the past few years.” Sarah Staff, head of SaferCash

More than two-fifths (42%) of attacks in the first half of 2018 have been carried out in rural areas – up from less than a third (31%) in 2013. Over 40% were carried out in areas with, at most, one bank branch open for customers.

“Our members have seen a real spike in the level of ATM crime in the past few years, with a 60% increase in these types of offences nationwide in the last three months alone,” said Staff.

“They are also increasingly being carried out by organised crime gangs targeting local rural communities. The impact of these crimes is far reaching, not only the actual theft and the loss of revenue to businesses, but also the extensive damage caused to buildings and the real impact this all has on members of each community.

“UK law enforcement and the private security industry are working hard to prevent these crimes and apprehend those involved. The BSIA, through SaferCash, are calling on the judiciary to hand down harsher sentences as a deterrent to those individuals intent of committing these offences.

“The BSIA also appeals to the public to assist where they can, by reporting any suspicious incidents or information to the police or anonymously to Crimestoppers. The public can often be the eyes and ears of their local areas. They can help towards tackling this crime trend which is impacting on their communities, with a loss of local conveniences and their rightful access to cash.”

There are more than 50,000 free cash machines in the UK, but the number is dwindling rapidly as people use less cash – a trend accelerated by the introduction of contactless card payments.

Cardtronics is the UK’s largest operator of non-bank cash machines.

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