It is widely believed that the duration of most armed robberies is under one minute. This is a very short time frame for the offender(s) to carry out their plan, but an even shorter time for witnesses to process the situation and make a rational decision on how to react. The advice from the NZ Police for anyone in this situation is simple – remember that life and safety are worth more than money or goods! Therefore, your aim to ensure the offender leaves without harming anyone, which you can achieve by:
- Staying calm;
- Following the offenders’ instructions;
- Consider all firearms as real, and loaded;
- Carefully noting the offenders’ description, if you are able to, without staring, as staring could provoke the offender(s). Try to note distinguishing features, rather than generic details, such as “tattoo on leg” or “scar on wrist”, rather than “male”, “20’s”, “[race]”, as these details do not make it easy for the Police to narrow down a suspect pool, whereas distinguishing features like tattoos and scars, do;
- If it is safe, noting the direction the offenders’ go, and a description of their method of transport, e.g. if it’s a vehicle, the vehicle make, model, colour, style, distinguishing features, and ultimately registration number, if possible.
Following the offenders’ departure, you can help the situation by:
- Immediately dialing 111 and asking for Police;
- Stopping people entering the area used by the offender(s);
- Asking witnesses to wait until Police arrive to speak with them. If they can’t, taking down their details for an officer to be in touch would be helpful.
Remember – don’t be a hero, don’t resist, don’t make any sudden movements, and don’t give chase. Rather, try to make a mental note of as many details as possible. This includes any distinguishing characteristics of the offender(s), and how and in which direction the offender(s) fled.
Any business that handles cash, drugs, or easy-to-sell consumables (such as alcohol or cigarettes) is at significant risk of being an armed robbery target, which is very much a health and safety issue. As such, the key is advance preparation. According to WorkSafe’s guidelines: “It is… essential that all staff in such businesses are conversant with how they should conduct themselves during an armed hold-up”.
Working Wise is available to help your company set-up processes for dealing with armed robbery, and other possible emergency situations. Contact the team today on 04 4990170, or click here to complete our online contact form.