G4S Cash Services (UK) (‘G4S’) has welcomed news of the first cash-in-transit (CIT) criminal to be convicted through forensic evidence using SmartWater, the forensic technology.
Ali Lwanga, aged 21 of Baron Walk E16 was found guilty today (18/7/08) at Wood Green Crown Court of two counts of conspiracy to rob and one count of money laundering and concealing stolen property following a string of robberies across East London. The case against Mr Lwanga was aided by irrefutable forensic evidence from SmartWater, an invisible liquid which can only be seen under ultra-violet light.
Mr Lwanga, who claimed he committed these crimes to pay off debts, had recruited a team of youths to carry out the robberies, allowing him to direct the attacks from a safe distance. Tests conducted by SmartWater scientists on recovered money and clothing provided the evidence linking Mr Lwanga to at least four CIT robberies and three cases of money laundering.
G4S has partnered with SmartWater Technology Ltd, the forensic security product firm, to incorporate the new product into a variety of anti-theft systems and cashboxes to protect its cash delivery couriers.
SmartWater enables the police to link an offender to an attack. Criminals who break into a G4S cashbox unavoidably become contaminated by SmartWater, which cannot be seen by the naked eye and remains traceable for up to six months.
Adam Miller, Risk Director, G4S Cash Services (UK), says: “This conviction is testament to the excellent work of the Metropolitan Police and we thank them for their diligence in pursuing the perpetrators of this crime. Over the last decade, the CIT industry has seen a marked increase in the number and severity of criminal attacks against couriers. With a 100% conviction rate, the use SmartWater technology should be a major deterrent to those considering attacking a CIT courier.”
Miller adds: “The partnership with SmartWater is just one of several proactive initiatives we are taking in association with police forces and other key stakeholders such as the British Security Industry Association (BSIA), the GMB union, banks and retailers to curtail the number of attacks taking place on the CIT industry.”
Investigating officer DC Laurie Bays, from Barking Flying Squad said: "This is the first time SmartWater evidence has been presented during a trial to help us convict a cash-in-transit robber and it’s proving to be an extremely valuable tool in both detecting and preventing crime as its incorporated into G4S cash boxes.
"We hope this conviction will serve as a warning to other potential criminals. The Flying Squad and Operation Vanguard1 are achieving a 65 per cent detection rate for cash-in-transit robberies, which means there is better than a one in two chance of being caught for this crime. The introduction of SmartWater can only improve that statistic and ensure criminals are convicted and punished when arrested."
The CIT industry is vital to the economic liquidity of the UK where cash remains the consumer’s preferred method of payment. The industry transports around £500 billion per annum employing around 8,000 couriers using a fleet of some 4,000 vehicles.
This initiative with SmartWater is one of a number of steps being taken by G4S and the industry as a whole to reduce the number of attacks against the CIT industry. G4S reports that it alone has invested around £100m over the past five years in crime prevention measures such as armoured vehicles, body armour and technology.
About Operation Vanguard
A Flying Squad initiative to tackle the robbery of cash-in-transit (CIT) vehicles and commercial premises, it has been running since November 2006. High visibility policing coupled with covert techniques are also used to deter attacks as deliveries are made.