An eye on bank notes
Explosives, armed robberies, burning vehicles – several valuables transports fell prey to criminal gangs in western Switzerland recently. A ban on night-time transport operations, which prevents the deployment of heavy armoured delivery units, is one of the reasons underlying the growing number of holdups.
Several armoured transport units have been subject to holdups in Switzerland over the past few months, with the criminals not pulling their punches in the process. The thieves used explosives to open transporters, and subsequently set the vehicles on fire. At least none of the drivers was injured.
Most of the incidents took place in the French-speaking canton of Vaud, which has an 80 km border with France. There are suspicions that the robbers may come from the greater Lyon area of France. The police has not been able to report any success yet in its manhunt for the robbers involved in attacks on three armoured transport vehicles in the canton of Vaud in the course of 2019.
The spike in the number of spectacular robberies has moved a segment of the transport and logistics industry into the spotlight that usually prefers to remain discrete. On top of this there are
an increasing number of voices being raised in the political arena calling for measures to curb such criminal activities.
The fact is that the legal framework almost invites culprits to focus on Swiss armoured units with cash. Heavily armoured cars are subject to a night-time driving ban on account of their great weight. Lightly armoured vehicles, in contrast, are easy to crack for robbers. But overnight runs are necessary to fill up ATMs and meet demand for cash. Just five to ten inadequately protected units are on the roads every night, prompting parliamentarians to call for the night-time ban to be relaxed.
The Swiss post office has to react too. In December it ended its valuables transports to and from its Daillens logistics centre, because its insurance firm withdrew cover. The post office said supplying western Switzerland with cash has become more laborious as a result. The vehicles deployed have now been equipped with protective systems that spray colour on the bank notes in case of an attempted robbery.