Alan Campbell, MP for Tynemouth and a leading campaigner for a stronger government response to the ongoing wave of serious attacks on cash machines, was today (Friday April 20) a guest of Lockpoint, which offers a frontline defence to such assaults.
Mr Campbell, Labour’s Deputy Chief Whip and a former member of the Commons Policing and Crime Bill Committee, has previously tabled four Written Questions to the Home Secretary, asking what discussions her department had had with Police and the banking and security industry regarding the increasing number of attacks on ATMs.
In the latest development in an ongoing dialogue with North Shields-based Lockpoint, the MP today visited the company’s long-term manufacturing partner, Responsive Engineering, at its base in the Armstrong Works, Newcastle.
Responsive Engineering, part of the Reece Group, manufactures Lockpoint’s Gryphon, which provides an “intelligent” barrier of steel to protect ATMs against a variety of different types of attack, including explosive gas and ram raids.
Lockpoint is working with its industry partners, including electronics company, Hindley Circuits, Cramlington, which was also represented at today’s visit, as a combination of both gas explosions and ram raids now exceeds one a day.
In gas attacks, reckless criminals inject gas into the ATM with the aim of blowing off the safe doors so they can access the cash inside. But the resulting explosion can cause immense damage and potentially threaten life. One recent explosion, in Darlington, could be heard several miles away.
Lockpoint’s Gryphon has been specifically developed to counter this threat and the company’s Chief Executive, Bill Price, said today: “All our clients invest resources in their ATM estates on the basis of the best intelligence available on the level of different threats. Our partners are particularly mindful of the specific threat from gas attacks and we are helping them to respond accordingly.
“We’re delighted at the interest shown by Mr Campbell and are pleased to be able to give him a keener insight into just why the Gryphon provides the best defence against a range of attack threats.”
In two recent gas attacks on ATMs to which the Gryphon was fitted, the safe door was blown off in both cases, but the Gryphon’s toughened steel interlocking doors held firm, keeping the four cash cassettes inside intact. Indeed, the device has yet to be breached in a gas attack, when fitted and operated correctly.
Mr Campbell said today: “I have noted with increasing concern the apparent rise in attacks on ATMs with both heavy machinery and explosive gas. The latter trend is particularly worrying as it may be only a matter of time before someone comes to significant harm.
“For this reason, I tabled a number of Parliamentary written questions on this subject to the Secretary of State for the Home Department and am encouraged to learn that ATM attacks may come on the agenda in discussions with the police in due course.~
“Today’s fact-finding visit has helped me to gain a better understanding of how the threat can be combatted and the innovative North East engineering that is behind its success.”
Graeme Campbell, Head of Operations, Responsive Engineering, said: “We manufacture specialist products in response to complex engineering challenges. These must withstand the toughest of conditions in sectors including defence, subsea, nuclear and rail.
“We are pleased to be working alongside other innovative North East companies to ensure that the Gryphon stays one step ahead of the criminals who target ATM machines in these dangerous attacks.”
Explosive attacks first came to the UK in 2013, since when banks and other ATM owners have racked up eight-figure losses in cash and other damage caused when the gangs, who show little regard for public or their own safety, inject acetylene or other gas into cash machines and blow them up.
The Gryphon range was first developed with Lockpoint’s engineering and electronics partners to counter the threat to cash-in-transit teams who were being ambushed when they arrived to replenish ATMs. It uses a system of interlocking “intelligent” electronic steel doors to make robbery unattractive because no more than one of the four drawers of cash can be open at any time. The sophisticated design of the doors means it is also extremely difficult to break into an ATM, even if a gang rips it out and takes it away with a JCB.
The Gryphon does not prevent explosions but, by protecting the cash, deters would-be robbers.
Lockpoint’s explosion testing can be viewed here