By Leon Harris CPP
Published in INsite, February/March 2004
The NSW Code of Practice for the Transport and Delivery of Cash-in-Transit (‘CIT’) has come into effect. The Code has serious legal obligations and ramifications for all organisations that handle cash, including aged care facilities, and clearly establishes responsibility on management (and others).Although the Code relates to NSW, operators in other states and territories should benchmark their own Guidelines or Codes (if any) with the NSW Code.
All workplaces that transact business in cash are vulnerable to armed robbery, and aged care is not immune. These crimes harm people emotionally and sometimes physically. On occasion, victims have died during armed robberies. Also, there is a negative impact on staff morale, service delivery and reputation, and places pressure on the cost of insurance.
Persons such as staff, or others (including security officers), hurt during a robbery often sue the business (or employer) for alleged failure in their duty of care to protect them from a violent crime, which according to many court findings, should have been expected by management. Ineffective or inadequate security risk assessments and security management (and training) are dangerous and used in court to highlight deficiencies in duty of care commitment.
Like the OH&S Act (2000) and OH&S Regulation (2001), the Code places responsibility on a number of people, including Employers and Controllers of Property (defined as a person who has control of premises used by people as a place of work). The Code complements the Australian New Zealand Standard on Risk Management (AS/NZS 4360) and previously published Guidelines by the WorkCover Authority (NSW).
If not already undertaken, NSW operators should ensure that they meet their obligations under the Code and OH&S legislation.
These activities are legal obligations and need to be carried out by ‘competent’ persons such as experienced and licensed security consultants.
This should be provided to all staff involved in cash handling. It should be noted this area, when not conducted, comes under significant criticism by the courts.
Staff should be provided with the necessary awareness and skills to reduce the likelihood of robbery and associated violence and methods to better survive the ordeal of robbery.
From our experience, face-to-face workshops are the best way to ensure survival techniques are used when under extreme duress. Effective training helps the victim rationalise issues and events, which assist in post-incident trauma recovery. It is important participants acknowledge that certain behaviour could increase the risk of personal harm. To ensure relevance and due diligence, training should always be provided by qualified security consultants experienced in hold-up prevention training.
A copy of the Code of Practice (Publication Number – 1203) can be downloaded from www.workcover.nsw.gov.au or alternatively, please contact Leon Harris on 1300 888 878 or, email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will forward a copy.
Leon Harris CPP, is the principal consultant for Harris Crime Prevention Services.
Harris Crime Prevention Services provides on an occasional basis articles by other Industry experts, such as: How Airports apply designing out crime principles