Greater Manchester Police is today (Friday 16th October) stepping up a gear in the fight against armed robbers and has released harrowing CCTV footage showing the devastating effect on innocent victims. The footage reveals the moment a gang burst into a bank in Wigan and terrified staff and members of the public by holding two victims at gunpoint. The offenders from this incident are due to be sentenced today. As part of this latest crackdown on organised gangs, police are asking the public to help stop the violence and report any information in the run up to the festive season – traditionally the busiest time of year for this type of crime.
The operation, codenamed Vanguard, is a continuation of the excellent work done over recent years and will see a whole series of enforcement, intelligence gathering and prevention activity during the winter months aimed at targeting, deterring and disrupting criminals who carry out cash-in-transit (CIT) and robberies of commercial and financial premises. Detective Chief Inspector Patrick McKelvey, Vanguard, said: “It is a common misconception that armed robberies are a victimless crime, with only the businesses suffering. However, this footage proves the devastating effect these crimes have on innocent victims. “As part of Vanguard, Greater Manchester Police is committed to safeguarding members of the public and staff from these criminals, who do not hesitate to use violence to achieve their aims. “During the past month we have seen a 48 per cent reduction in robberies at partner financial institutions** and arrested 19 offenders and I am determined that we will maintain the momentum into the New Year. To ensure this, we are stepping up our policing operations in the run up to the festive period to crackdown on these offenders.”
Over the next few months, GMP will work closely with the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) and other partner agencies to safeguard commercial and financial businesses, along with CIT vehicles during their delivery and pick-up times. Officers will use a variety of tactics to prevent these robberies, including armed police vehicles escorting high-risk security vehicles as they carry out cash deliveries; the use of overt and covert CCTV monitoring; patrol cars following cash-handling vehicles; plus the latest forensic devices and other anti-theft systems will be hidden in CIT vehicles. In addition, the Force helicopter will shadow the vehicles from the air during collections or deliveries, enabling any activity to be monitored. Operational activity will also be supported by a new marketing campaign, aimed at encouraging members of the public to report and information.
Chief Inspector McKelvey continued: “Though these recent figures show that we are having some success in reducing armed robberies, it is important to understand that this is a devastating and often violent crime that can cause deep distress for the victims. Through Vanguard, we are hitting these violent offenders hard on the streets, in the county and in their communities. Criminals can be assured that we are on their case and they could be spending the festive season behind bars. Please help us stop the violence and report any information either directly to us on 0161 872 50 50 or anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”