The number of travel agency robberies taking place has fallen despite a recent spate of attacks hitting the headlines, according to the chairman of the Travel Agent and Bureau Security (Tabs) forum.

In recent weeks thieves have targeted several agencies across England, including at Thomas Cook in Clifton, Bristol, on May 5 and Thomas Cook in Makerfield, Cheshire, on May 15.

However, Allan Lawson, who is also health and safety and retail security manager at Tui Travel, told Travel Weekly the number of crimes taking place had fallen as a result of agents having a greater knowledge of security measures and procedures.

He said new safety measures in agencies had helped to secure more arrests and successful convictions following raids. 

The forum, set up in 2011 and formed of several travel groups, created a comprehensive guide to improving safety and security in the workplace for agents.

Lawson said Tabs produces regular reports detailing the latest issues affecting the industry, such as scams, to prevent staff falling foul to fraud and robberies.

“There has actually been a decreasing number of recent incidents,” he said. “A number of arrests and successful convictions have been made due to the increased physical security measures all agents have put in place.

“Additionally when agents have followed their procedures correctly the loss to the industry has been reduced, which sends out a message that the criminals do not get as much currency as they once thought.”

He added: “The hard work by all members in sharing ideas in crime prevention has had great results, with robberies and deception figures down within the industry in general, as well as helping other non-travel agent organisations in protecting themselves against similar crime.”

The forum, supported by the Metropolitan and South Wales police forces, is made up of representatives from Tui Travel, Thomas Cook, Co-operative Travel, Hays Travel and Abta.

Other members are from the British Bankers Associations, American Express, Travelex, Travel Trust Association, Post Office and Tesco Bank.

Tabs members meet quarterly to discuss recent trends and security issues.