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Cash Security - Robbery [Hardfacts]


Cash, which should be regarded as notes, coins and freely convertible  (usable) vouchers, is especially attractive to criminals. As such, they may threaten or use  force ('Robbery') to acquire it; such an event occurring either opportunistically or after considerable research and planning.

All organisations undertaking cash handling, i.e. cash receipt, issue, counting, transfer, banking and cash storage can be at risk of robbery, and should therefore take appropriate measures to prevent it.

This Hardfacts outlines some general advice on cash security which is primarily aimed at enhancing the security of cash against robbery. More specific information on protecting the cash from theft/burglary and on safety of cash handling personnel is available in ‘Hardfacts' 3014 and 1004 respectively.

In depth robbery protection is best achieved by following a series of steps as outlined below:-

Step 1 - Risk Assessment

As a first step a robbery risk assessment should be undertaken that considers:

  • When, where and how cash is handled
  • When, where and how cash is stored
  • The amounts of cash handled/stored
  • Who handles or has access to cash
  • The likelihood/nature of a robbery
  • The monetary and commercial impact of a robbery
  • The adequacy of existing precautions

Once the assessment has been completed, measures to improve security can better be considered, as indicated below.

Note. Some useful further guidance on this whole topic can be obtained from the RISCAuthority website; see "Sources of Further Information" below.

Step 2 - Risk Avoidance

In some cases use of cash can be avoided, e.g. by only making/receiving payments by cheque or electronic transfer.

Step 3 - Risk Reduction

Consider whether the amount of cash held overall, in transit or at vulnerable locations in transit and overall can be reduced, for example:

  • Adopt more frequent cash collection from vulnerable areas such as cash tills, etc to a more secure area
  • Undertake more frequent banking e.g. twice rather than once daily/weekly so that amounts carried per transit event are smaller 
  • Store cash in duplicate locations/safes within premises
  • Remove cash outside occupied hours 

Step 4 - Risk Transfer

Cash delivery, collection e.g re-filling ant ATM, or making up of wage packets, can be transferred to a Cash and Valuables in Transit (CViT) company.

To reduce the risk of robbers impersonating CViT staff to gain access to cash, ensure personnel do check the identity of CViT staff each time they seek access to your premises.

Selecting CViT Companies

The criteria for selecting a CViT company should include staff holding appropriate Security Industry Authority (SIA) licences, adhering to recognised training and operating procedures (e.g. those set out in British Standard BS7872: Code of Practice for Operation of Cash In Transit Services), having suitable insurance and being subject to a strict regime of external inspection/site audits.

National Security Inspectorate (NSI) listing (for CViT activities) is the best indicator of complete compliance with the above recommendations; although companies who hold SIA Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS) status will have to use suitably licensed and trained staff and may also adhere to most if not all of the above recommendations.

Step 5 - Managing Risk

Those risks that are unavoidable or which remain after considering steps 2-4 need to be managed as indicated below.

Procedural Security

Arguably the most important security measure is that cash handling and other personnel are trustworthy and follow designated security procedures, e.g. that personnel:

  • Have their previous employment record and references fully checked before being employed.
  • Are suitably vetted fro criminal records e.g via the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) - formerly referred to as 'CRB' checks. 
  • Are trained in security procedures, and then held to account for their ongoing use.
  • Understand the reason for/workings or limitations of any security procedures and devices and systems provided and any possible limitations. 
  • Have limited access to cash handling and storage areas, backed up by the use of access control systems.
  • Avoid lone working, especially when premises are being opened or locked up.
  • Do challenge strangers.

General Deterrence

Criminals are usually looking for an easy target so are susceptible to being deterred if security precautions that are not otherwise readily apparent are 'advertised', e.g. display warning signs such as "Staff at these premises do not have access to the safe" etc.

Cash Tills

  • Till Guards can hinder cash snatches whilst the cash till drawer is open
  • Till Deposit Safes can be used for temporary storage of excess bank notes

Security Guards

At some sites a manned security presence, either ‘in house' or an external company, may be appropriate. The criteria for selecting a guarding company should include its staff holding appropriate Security Industry Authority (SIA) licenses adhering to recognised training and operating procedures (e.g. those set out in BS7499 - Code of Practice for Statis Site Guarding and Mobile Patrol Services) having suitable insurance and being subject to a strict regime of external inspection/site audits.

Although companies who hold SIA Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS) status will have to use suitably licensed and trained staff, National Security Inspectorate (NSI) or Security Systems and Alarms Inspection board (SSAIB) listing is the best indicator of complete compliance with all of the above recommendations.  

Cash Transfers

A 'high risk' period for a cash robbery is when it is in transit. Risk can be reduced by undertaking transfers:

  • At different times and via differing routes
  • By car rather than on foot 
  • With more accompanying personnel
  • Using cash staining transfer cases - which render snatched money unusable if an attack occurs

Segregation - Cash Handling Rooms

Wherever possible cash handling should be done with the public excluded from the building, but otherwise in an area not readily accessible to them, e.g. for low cash levels a room that has:

  • No ready access from outside the building
  • A solid timber door fitted with a door viewer and secured by two good quality locks e.g. BS3621 mortice deadlocks

Larger amounts of cash may justify the construction of a cash office, which will usually warrant specialist advice; not least as it should ideally built to meet an appropriate risk level as outlined in:

  • BSEN 356/BSEN 1063 - Resistance of Glazing to Manual/Ballistic attack
  • BSEN 1522/1523 - Resistance of Structures to Ballistic attack

That said in general terms:

  • Walls should extend up to a robust or inaccessible floor/roof, but otherwise have the office ceiling/roof reinforced
  • Avoid glazed door panels, a wide-angle door viewer or intercom system being better for personnel vetting before entry
  • Doors should open outwards, be fitted with door closers and high security locks. Using two doors, to create an inner lobby, allows secondary vetting/control
  • Avoid windows/doors leading directly to outside of the building
  • Ensure any emergency exit doors are as strong as the main entry door and are secured with high security panic bolt mechanisms 
  • Bulk cash delivery/collection is best undertaken via a built-in indirect cash-transfer unit

During an Attack - Intruder Alarms

An Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) monitored ‘police response' alarm should be provided which incorporates:

  • A suitable Hold Up Alarm (HUA) sometimes called a peronsal attack (PA) alarm
  • A phone/ radio based dual path Alarm Transmission System (ATS) having high security/performance - to ensure a HUA can still be sent after any pre-robbery cutting of 'phone lines' or that total failure of the ATS will be quickly detected and reported 
  • A ‘duress code', to allow users being forced by robbers to unset an alarm to secretly indicate this to the ARC who in limited situations may be able to notify police  
  • ARC monitoring of pre-agreed alarm ‘opening/closing' times to detect unexpected unsetting/delayed setting either of  which may indicate a possible robbery in progress

During an Attack - Security Fog Systems

When activated, these systems sometimes called security 'smoke' systems, very quickly fill a room/area with harmless thick obscurring white fog thereby preventing intruders seeing what they have come to steal.  Although originally designed for burglary protection with particularly careful attention to design they are now being increasingly used to help prevent robbery i.e. they are manually activated to protect frontline/counter staff. Such systems should:

  • Be designed installed and maintained by an installer familiar with use of such systems in anti-robbery context and whose adherence to relevant British/European standards (e.g. BSEN 50131-8) and any police/firebrigade requirements is evidenced by holding accrediation from a recognised alarm inspectorate body i.e. the NSI or SSAIB 

During an Attack - CCTV

CCTV can be used to locally or remotely alert appropriate personnel to a robbery underway and/or obtain images (evidence) for later use.

See our various ‘Hardfacts' sheets for fuller information on electronic security systems e.g. intruder alarms and CCTV.

During an Attack - Safes

The best safe in the world is vulnerable if users can be forced to open them so in addition to using a good quality safe supplied by a competent safe dealer/locksmith e.g. a member of the Master Locksmiths Association (MLA) it is important to ensure that any safe has some or all of the following facilities:

  • Deposit facilities with day to day users not having the key/code to open the safe
  • Dual safe facilities with key/code to the main (stronger part) of the safe not held by the day to day users  
  • Two locks with key/code to one of the locks not held by the day to day users 
  • A time delay or time lock to respectively, prevent a safe being opened before a timer countdown (typically 5-10 mins) expires,or from opening at all outside pre-set periods

Key Action Steps

  • Assess the risks and consider the adequacy of current security measures
  • Seek professional help and advice, including that of any interested insurers
  • Use suitably accredited and competent providers for CViT duties and any related manned guarding, intruder alarm or CCTV system work. Ensure personnel receive adequate initial and on-going refresher training 
  • Ensure personnel receive adequate security vetting plus initial and on-going training  
  • Display suitable warning signs
  • Review security measures on a regular basis and as circumstances change

Sources of Further Information

Other ‘Hardfacts' in the Property Protection Security series, which are available in our ‘Knowledge Store' at

Raid-Control. See

The RISCA Authority (UK property insurer's technical group) . See

In particular consider these two documents:

S19: Security guidance for defence against robbery

S22: Cash Security - as user's guide

Note. Their website contains many other documents that may be useful e.g. those covering the essential principles for the security of property, ATMs, security fog devices, intruder alarms, CCTV and keyholding etc

The Disclosure and Barring Service. See 

The Security Industry Authority. See

National Security Inspectorate (NSI) - Tel 01628 637512 or see

Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB) - Tel 0191 296 3242 or see

Master Locksmiths Association (MLA). Tel 01327 262255 or see

The European Certification Board - Safes (ECB-S) See

The Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB) See

Insafe - supplier of safes and security cabinets (member of Aviva's "Specialist Partner" network) Tel 0800 252225 or visit

Security Fog Companies

SMOKECLOAK - Tel 01604 839000 or

BANDIT - Tel 0870 7770434 or

SMOKESCREEN - Tel 01205 821002 or

PROTECT - Tel 01299 254254 or

British Security Industry Association (BSIA) Tel 0845 389 3889 or see  

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Please Note
This document contains general information and guidance and is not and should not be relied on as specific advice. The document may not cover every risk, exposure or hazard that may arise and Aviva recommend that you obtain specific advice relevant to the circumstances. AVIVA accepts no responsibility or liability towards any person who may rely upon this document.

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