Comprehensive video surveillance system at ATMs is the need of the hour, say Hyderabad police officials

Deploying security guards round the clock or installing hidden cameras does not make bank ATMs secure is what the police feel after scrutinising the security precautions followed by banks at ATMs accessed by scores of customers daily.

A comprehensive video surveillance system with not only high resolution cameras, but a unified command control which monitors the videos all the time is the need of the hour, affirmed senior police officials.

The Cyberabad police, after making a thorough check following the brutal attack by a robber on a woman inside an ATM centre in Bangalore, have realised that nearly 60 per cent of 1,038 ATMs do not have secret cameras.

Of the remaining, not more than 20 to 25 per cent are in working condition.

Moreover, the quality of visuals recorded by some cameras in these centres is so poor that nothing can be made out of the footage.

“Even with a clear video footage, it can only help in detecting crime but cannot prevent looting of the ATM or any attack on customers,” a police officer, seeking anonymity, said.

While majority of the ATM centres don’t have cameras, only one big private bank has installed an improved video security system. It has sensors affixed on the power back-up unit, cheque drop box, cash dispensing machine and glass.

These sensors are also capable of detecting any smoke or fire too.

The moment a robber tries to break the cash dispensing machine or even tries to meddle with the cheque drop box, the sensors get activated.

The system is designed in such a way that it sends beep through visual-to-command control unit where the staffers notice this and warn the persons in the ATM through a mike to leave the place.

‘Banks should take a proactive role’

Conceding that security of ATM centres has hurled a new challenge to police, Cyberabad Police Commissioner C.V. Anand said the onus was on bank managements to take a proactive role in curbing such offences.

“We’ll ask banks to do their bit and under the City Police Act, the police can instruct them to take precautions to check recurrence of attacks at ATM centres,” he said.

Mr. Anand also stated that brain-storming sessions would be held with the bank officials on steps to be taken on the issue before the Cyberabad police comes out with any fresh notification on making ATMs safer.

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