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article imageOp-Ed: Crimewatch – all the crooks, except the biggest ones

By Alexander Baron     Sep 6, 2011 in Crime
Tonight, BBC Television screened a ‘Crimewatch’ special, about armed robbers, but one category of robber was noticeable by their absence.
Catch Me If You Can: Armed Robbers is one of those occasional programmes the Crimewatch team put together such as Taken, which was screened in the wake of the conviction of Levi Bellfield for the murder of 13 year old Milly Dowler. The current programme concentrated not on a particular crime or criminal but on a particular genré, the armed robber, covering all manner of armed robberies from common or garden attacks on jewellers, to the man who robbed a stamp dealer to the robbers in Sweden who used a helicopter.
Among the programme’s contributors was a criminal psychologist who said some armed robbers were concerned with what she called the heroic quest - the dramatic effect of their crime on the world, including recognition – and there we were thinking it was all about getting rich quick.
The programme also covered the technological aspect of deterrence, prevention and arrest, including smart water.
One gang, run by a professional “blagger” named Danny Speed, were placed under close surveillance, knew they were, but carried on undeterred. Eventually they got a bit too clever, and Speed himself ended up with a 20 year sentence.
Another gang pulled off the job of a lifetime, and escaped with over £50 million. This was a massive operation which involved inter alia some of the robbers posing as police officers. Although the robbery they pulled off was both spectacular and professional, they covered their tracks like a camel with dysentery walking through a six inch fall of snow, and were brought to book.
The programme made the point that nowadays the risks far outweigh the rewards for most armed robbers, but one brand of robber that was curiously absent from this programme is the type who steals the entire economy – the banksters. Where armed robbers get gaol, banksters get bonuses, paid out of our pockets.
At the end of the programme, one commentator made a telling remark, armed robbery may be risky but it will continue until “we” abolish cash completely. If that ever happens, the game will be well and truly up, not simply for armed robbers, but for all of us.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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