Can foam be used to deter Cash In Transit hijackers ?

G4S - Foam systemG4S - Foam system

Crime in South Africa is not new however what is new is the way one company is using high tech  and new-age thinking to fight back.

One of the most brutal criminal acts that we have seen in South Africa is the vicious attack on the Cash In Transit Vehicles or CITV as they are known. Due to the vehicles being so heavily protected, criminals have resorted to extreme measures to gain access to all that cash which is being transported from the clients to secure areas. “The most common method is to ram into the CIT vehicle and grind/cut into the vehicle” confirms Hannes Venter, Sales Director. In these cases the lives of the guards are at risk constantly and when criminals attack, these guards are the first to be targeted.

G4S - Foam system

G4S has taken the initiative to take protection of their customer’s cash to a whole new level and at the same time safeguard the lives of their staff.  G4S is the world’s leading international security solutions group, which specialises in outsourced business processes in sectors where security and safety risks are considered a strategic threat.  They have now introduced a new layer of protection – the Foam Protection System.

The Foam system is made up of two liquids that are kept in separate containers inside the vehicles where the cash is being transported. In the event when the vehicle is under attack, these liquids are mixed together and within seconds engulf the entire contents of the truck and continue to expands to fill any void. The foam instantly hardens and this makes it virtually impossible for criminals to gain access to anything inside the vehicle. All the client property is safely tucked inside the hardened foam.

Once the danger had passed, the foam is cleaned up G4S staff and the vehicle is ready to be used again.  Hannes states that “It will take a couple of days and it [vehicle] will have to be refurbished before it can be deployed again and this will take a couple of weeks.”

G4S - foam system - filling up G4S - foam system - filling up
Foam starts to engulf the contents Foam completly covers the contents

This material cannot be melted with chemicals or fire, meaning that it will take a would-be robber longer to chip through the foam in order to get to the valuables than it will take the SAPS or armed response backup to arrive at the scene.

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To prove just how resilient this system is, G4S simulated an attack on one of its vehicles where the foam was deployed.  They even conveniently cut a hole in the side of their truck and gave these would-be-criminals all the tools they could want including angle grinders, pick axes etc. and after hours of trying, they still could not get inside the vehicle. In reality, criminals faced with this kinds of obstacle would not even attempt to gain entry.

G4S - foam system - criminals trying to break inG4S - foam system - criminals trying to break in

The DOA foam protection system is fully integrated with the vehicle’s tracking and door locking system. It may be triggered by a panic button held by the driver or remotely by an operator at the G4S National Control Centre (NCC). It can also be triggered if an unauthorised person tries to tamper with the doors of the hold before the vehicle arrives at its destination.

G4S will install this product in vehicles that move from safe location to safe location, especially those transporting bulk currency and precious metals.

In Africa, G4S is the largest private sector employer with more than 111 000 employees across 29 countries.  In South Africa, G4S Cash Solutions employs more than 3500 people and provides services from 33 branches strategically placed in all nine provinces.

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