03 December 2019


This month Simon Banks talks to Sarah Staff, a former Detective Chief Inspector with the

Metropolitan Police heading up the flying squad. Sarah is now Head of SaferCash, which aims to

reduce the number of attacks on cash-in-transit couriers.

For those who are not familiar with SaferCash, can you outline what you do?

SaferCash is a Home Office approved Police initiative hosted by the BSIA, working in collaboration with the Cash & Valuables in Transit sector (CViT), UK Finance Banking partners and Independent ATM distributors. Our main aim is to reduce physical CViT, ATM and Banking related crime, and provide a central point of contact for the Police, the Security sector & other partners. SaferCash maintains the only national database for all CViT attacks and suspicious incidents, whilst also providing a direct link between Law Enforcement and the Industry via liaison officers. Our team is made up of former serving members of the Police service and seconded by Police analysts working within their regional areas. SaferCash has the fortunate ability to draw together vital information and intelligence from several areas, across both the public and private security sectors. This joined-up initiative assists at a regional, national and international level, working closely in regular partnership with law enforcement and industry partners. Its collaborative work supports Police investigations with analytical crime data for intervention, detection and prosecutions.

Several large UK brands have recently joined the programme. Can you tell us why they felt it was important for them to do so?

Our newest members in 2019 include well known brands such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s Bank and the Post Office. These members are all too aware of the threats their staff face every single day and want to proactively assist the relevant authorities in reducing this. Adding these new members has allowed us to invest in the growth of SaferCash and increase our reporting and analysis of these crimes. In 2009, CViT attacks in the UK totalled more than 1000 crimes, with many of the offences involving the use of firearms, serious violence and injuries against the CViT crews. The level of offending reached a crisis point and SaferCash was launched. Over the last 10 years the initiative has developed a strong working partnership with the Security Industry and UK Police, supporting “Follow the Van” initiatives and other Police activities. In 2018 there were less than 200 CViT crimes in the UK, however the level of violence and the use of firearms remains a threat and our aim is to see a reduction in the number of crimes through the working partnership. As well as deterring these crimes and seeing the levels drop, we have also achieved some high-profile convictions in recent months. In February 2019, five offenders were jailed at Manchester Crown Court, for a combined total of more than 75 years following 3 ATM attacks. More recently, five men were jailed for over 48 years in November 2019, again in Manchester, following a spree of cash machine explosion robberies across areas of the North West.

How can Security Installers benefit from this initiative?

SaferCash is currently part of the National Police Chief Council Task and Finish Work Group looking at total cash degradation systems and solutions to physical ATM attacks. We aim to represent and support our members, whilst facilitating conversations and contacts across the BSIA. SaferCash provides up to date information daily to our members, whilst also producing strategic national reports based on the data we have. Installers could use this to proactively advise their customers on crime trends in their area. Police and their partners also have access to a SaferCash secure intelligence database, which holds records of reported crime and suspicious activities. In addition, we co-ordinate and host regional intelligence meetings which take place every quarter around the UK where risk managers from security, companies can attend. During these meetings, we discuss current trends and crimes affecting all SaferCash partners with updates on Police investigations and activities. We have current points of contact with all 43 UK Police forces to assist with updates on crime investigations suffered by members, and to assist in putting parties in direct contact.

Can you tell us about your career before your existing role?

Before joining SaferCash, I had a 30-year career with the Metropolitan Police Service. Most of my service was as a Detective tackling serious and organised crime, following in my father’s footsteps, as he served for 35 years in the Met as a murder squad Detective retiring as a Detective Chief Superintendent. I served for 12 years on the Flying Squad from the ranks of Detective Constable, Detective Sergeant, Detective Inspector, and finally as only the 2nd woman in the 100- year history of the Flying Squad (1918 to 2018) to hold the rank of DCL. The Flying Squad is a specialist covert department tackling organised crime groups involved in committing commercial armed robberies.

Away from the Flying Squad, I managed several specialist covert units tackling the importation and supply of controlled drugs and firearms into the UK and London. I ran the Organised Vehicle Crime Unit tackling criminal groups involved in the organised theft of high value vehicles, and the Plant and Agricultural Intelligence Unit which was funded by industry partners. This work provided me with a greater insight into offences being committed against our members involving the use of heavy plant machinery, which is often used to rip out ATMs. My experience gained over 30 years in the Police service has enabled me to properly support our BSIA and SaferCash member companies.


“Really looking forward to seeing how this DualCom GradeShift Pro goes in. There’s no provision for a phone line or network access at the panel so the DualCom Pro will be a godsend”.

Rob Rathbone (KHG Security) – LinkedIn Post – November 22

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