Bank Robberies in the UK
According to recent statistics, the number of bank robberies in the UK has declined by more than 90% over the past 20 years. In 2000, there were over 700 bank robberies in the UK. By 2020, that number had fallen to just 58.
The trend is very likely to continue this decline, especially as society becomes increasingly cashless.
The Biggest Known Bank Robberies in the UK
- A £6-million Security Express Heist in Shoreditch in 1983
- The theft of £ 40 million during the Knightsbridge Security Deposit robbery
- £291.9-million was stolen from City Bonds in London in 1990
- The Midland Bank Clearing Centre heist that took place in Salford in 1995
- The Hatton Garden safe deposit theft in 2003, where £1.5-million was stolen
- The Northern Bank robbery in Belfast in 2004, where £26.5-million was stolen
Robberies often occur on a far smaller scale and are often not organised. In 2021, a man was arrested for attempting to steal £2,400 by simply passing notes to tellers.
Why Are Bank Robberies Becoming Less Common?
There are several reasons for this decline, including:
- The UK is moving towards becoming cashless: The decline in bank robberies can be attributed to various factors, such as the rise of digital banking and fintech apps, which means that banks carry less cash, making it less lucrative for robbers.
- Banks are becoming more secure: Banks have also implemented better security measures, including protective screens, CCTV, and special fog designed to disperse criminals, making it harder for robbers to carry out their heists.
- The odds of capturing robbers are far higher: The odds of capturing a repeat offender are at 59%, which means that robbers are far less likely to take the risk.
The Use of Safety Screens In Banks As a Deterrent For Bank Robbers
According to a study conducted by Neil Rickman and Robert Witt from the University of Sussex into 364 bank heists that occurred in the UK between 2005 and 2008, a third of all bank heists resulted in zero gains for the robber.
The study found that security measures are effective in reducing the number of bank heists and the amount of cash stolen. A fast-rising screen in a banking outlet, relative to other counter-security measures, can reduce the expected value of a robbery by £24,463.30 and reduces the probability of a successful robbery by one-third. The researchers stated that the overall introduction of screens in banks could potentially reduce the bank raid success rate in Britain by almost one-half. Their findings are in line with a Swiss study that found banks with screens had a 52% lower robbery rate than banks without them.
Bank teller screens are bullet-resistant or glazed materials that protect staff and the immediate area from outside threats and violent attacks. The screens do not shatter even if fired at, which deters and slows down attackers. In addition, they help staff feel safer and prevent panic during a robbery that could lead to injuries or fatalities. Teller screens also make staff happier at work, knowing that their safety is a priority for their employer. The screens do not interfere with communication as pass-through trays, and voice transmission openings are available for tellers and customers. They also act as a deterrent to robbers who prefer quick and easy heists.
Rickman and Witt’s study suggests that banks should continue to invest in security measures, such as fast-rising screens, to reduce the risk of bank robberies and protect their employees and customers.
Are Security Measures Still Necessary in Modern Banks?
Despite the declining trend of bank robberies in the UK, banks still require protection and safety screens to deter potential robbers and ensure the safety of their employees and customers. Teller screens also help staff feel safer, prevent panic during a robbery that could lead to injuries or fatalities, and act as a deterrent to robbers who prefer quick and easy heists. As such, banks should continue to invest in security measures, such as security screens, to reduce the risk of bank robberies and protect their employees and customers.
Thanks to the rise of digital banking and fintech apps, as well as the implementation of better security measures such as protective screens and CCTV, bank robberies are becoming a rare occurrence.
Safetell’s innovative solutions for banks – including fast-rising security screens and access controls – have played a big part in ensuring that banks are safer places for their employees and customers.