Message from the Chief Commissioner

Crime Prevention & Community Safety

Preventing armed robbery

Release date: Wed 2 May 2007

Last updated: Tue 9 June 2015

The majority of armed robberies are not thoroughly planned and a large number are drug or alcohol related making it a potentially dangerous situation. On the other hand, in a planned robbery the robber sometimes goes to great lengths to prepare, and looks over the premises extensively before the event.

Planning for security

Do not wait until a robbery has occurred to update your security procedures and systems. Improve the safety of both your staff and your customers by adopting a security plan. The Crime Prevention Officer at your local police station can give you practical ideas and advice to suit your business security needs (see link on right side of this page).

Layout of the premises

An open, uncluttered environment providing a clear, well-lit view of the sales area from outside is a deterrent to armed robbers. Strong interior lighting used with an open glass shopfront can make an offender highly visible and increase their chances of being identified.


  • Secure entrances and windows with good quality locks, solid doors and window bars.
  • Make sure all areas are well lit.
  • Use counters to maximise distance between the customer and staff.
  • Try to have more than one staff member on duty.
  • Keep curtains, posters and advertising material to a minimum.
  • Use mirrors to allow staff to monitor obscured floor space.


  • Allow customers access behind the counter and into staff-only areas.
  • Position the cash register near the front door.

Security equipment

Specific equipment may significantly improve your security. For example:

  • Closed circuit television (CCTV)
  • Monitored alarms
  • Sensors or alarms alert staff that customers are entering or leaving the premises
  • Electronic doors
  • Signs or stickers to clearly show that security equipment is in use.

Staff training

All staff should be:

  • Trained in hold-up procedures
  • Shown how to activate and control security equipment
  • Asked to account for and return all keys.

Cash handling procedures


  • Limit cash kept on the premises and in the till and publicise this fact.
  • Transfer excess cash to a secure place.
  • Install a safe which is fitted with a post-feed, time delay and dye bomb device.
  • Keep cash registers out of sight and away from the front door.


  • Leave cash drawers open longer than necessary.
  • Discuss cash takings with others.
  • Count cash in front of customers or let them see your cash handling methods.

Banking and transporting money


  • Be observant and pay attention to people hanging around.
  • Make the trip with a companion, if possible.
  • Keep entries and exits clear of obstructions.
  • Consider carrying personal audible alarms and mobile phones when doing the banking.
  • Report suspicious activities and people to police immediately on Triple Zero 000.


  • Repeat strict routines with set times for transporting cash to the bank.
  • Use staff uniforms or badges that identify your business when transporting money.
  • Carry cash in a bag that identifies the business or bags that identify the bank.

If you are robbed

During an armed robbery the overall aim should be to ensure the offender leaves the premises as soon as possible, without injuring or harming anyone. 


  • Remain calm.
  • Do exactly as you are told.
  • Try to picture a description of the offender.
  • Remember where the offenders have been and which way they left the premises.
  • Notify police on Triple Zero 000.


  • Confront the offender.
  • Touch anything immediately after the event.


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