Senior members of the police high command say they have held several meetings with representatives from private security companies across the island to address concerns regarding recent attacks on security personnel and theft of Automated Teller Machines in recent months.
Coming out of these meetings, local authorities say they will be moving to implement a number of measures to tackle the problem.
Police said investigators will also be zooming in on a number of criminal gangs as they seek to clamp down on the illegal operations.
“We are monitoring a couple of gangs and we have persons in custody from those gangs, who have been involved in some of those robberies, not just ones specifically on Beryllium recently, but generally on ATMs and other heavy cash robberies that have taken place over the past few months,” Major General Antony Anderson said in a video posted on social media.
The comments were made after members of the police high command met with members of security company Beryllium Limited, whose courier guards were attacked as they reloaded an ATM machine by gunmen in Portmore, St Catherine on Sunday.
Specific to Sunday’s robbery on the Beryllium courier guards, Anderson said: “Our investigators are moving rapidly, not only to recover items used but to follow up on this case.
“We have some very strong leads, and we have persons in custody. That’s all I will say on the investigations at the moment, but I am happy with the way it is going so far, and we should have some good breakthroughs in the near future,” stated the commissioner.
On Sunday, Beryllium said the driver of one of its vehicles and three other crew members were shot and injured during the gun attack at Scotiabank’s Cookson Pen Branch in Portmore, St Catherine.
While the company made no mention of the sum of money stolen, an informed source indicated that over $23 million in cash was taken by the attackers.
On February 27 this year, gunmen similarly attacked a Beryllium team that was about to deliver money at an automated teller machine (ATM) at almost the same location as Sunday’s incident.
On that occasion, at least two members of the three-member crew were shot and injured, one fatally, and over $10 million in cash was taken by the attackers, who escaped from the scene.
Anderson said that to stem attacks on such large transfer of cash, certain technologies will be utilised by the police going forward.
“There are technologies that we can implement for both the industry and the police to better secure this volume of cash,” he suggested.
He argued, as well, that Jamaica is a heavily “cash-based economy”, and there has not been any significant movement to a cashless society so far.
“So, in that handling of large amounts of cash, especially within the security industry, we need certain uniformity, standard operating procedures and just best practices implemented within the industry and then the communications between the industry and the JCF need to be supportive of a more secure environment,” Anderson informed.
In reiterating that persons are in custody relative to the spate of robberies at ATMs, Anderson is confident that these types of occurrences will desist in the future.
“… Once we implement some of the key technologies re the movement of cash, I believe that we should see the technology cause that type of robbery to become less attractive and make it easier for us to catch up with them,” the commissioner stated.