An undisclosed amount of cash was taken after the cash van was blown up. Photo: IPSS

CAPE TOWN – SBV Services, a provider of customised cash services and solutions to banks, ATMs, and retail environments, on Monday appealed to the public to be aware of the high risks involved in the cash-in-transit industry. 

The company made this appeal after concerns were raised that members of the public were distracting protection officers while they were on duty.

South Africa’s economy relied on cash, the company said in a statement. Ensuring that cash was available when needed was an essential service provided by SBV Services protection officers, who were highly trained to ensure both money and other assets were moved as smoothly and safely as possible.

Mark Barrett, chief executive at SBV Services said protection officers might seem brash and unfriendly at times, but they were trained to be solely focused on the job at hand. 

“We have had reports of members of the public who insist that our officers move the vehicle or ask to hold the firearms that they carry. It is also important for the public to desist from asking officers questions – or by blocking the route to cash machines with trolleys for example. This kind of distraction is a safety and security risk for both the officer and the public,” said Barrett.

SBV Protection Officers follow strict Standard Operating Procedures, according to the statement. These include where they must park the vehicle while moving the cash, the amount of time that they have to do so, what constitutes a potential threat, as well as their responsibilities with regards to the use of firearms.

“All cash-in-transit protection officers are subject to a multitude of stress factors while on duty, so we ask that people bear this in mind when they encounter officers in public places such as malls,” says Susan Potgieter, acting chief executive of the SA Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric).

In order to help protection officers, there are a number of things the public can do to allow security services to carry out their work. These include:

  • Don’t approach protection officers who are holding guns – they are trained to interpret this as a tactic to take their attention off their job.
  • If you are on an escalator or in a lift you might be asked to make room for them to pass, as it’s important to get a high-risk item in transit off the premises as quickly as possible.
  • Armoured vehicles park in places that allow easy and swift access to pick up points so that protection officers can get in and out quickly, so make sure you don’t park them in.
  • If an ATM is being filled or emptied, rather leave the area and come back when you know it has been completed.
  • In the event of a robbery attempt, leave the scene of the crime and don’t remove or touch any objects in the area. Phone the South African Police Service (SAPS) on 10111 as soon as possible.
  • Contact the SAPS immediately if you’ve identified a potentially dangerous situation, irregularities or infringements.

Barrett said the company was aware of certain instances where vehicles were parked in areas that are not demarcated for parking. 

“Our protection officers are required to adhere to the laws and regulations of the country and to be polite and respectful towards others. If you are unhappy with how our officers are driving or parking, instead of speaking to them directly, please telephone 0860 555 999, which is also printed on the back of our vehicles,” he said.

SBV also appealed to members of the public with any information on potential security incidents to contact SBV’s Early Warning Robbery Hotline. “This line is active 24/7 and members of the public may contact 083 408 7029 to provide information anonymously to SBV’s investigations team. All callers can be assured that confidentiality is maintained.”

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