The door frame metal detector (DFMD) at the Chennai Shopping Mall began beeping as the Task Force policeman in plainclothes walked through it, with a firearm concealed in his clothes.

The guard on watch duty there, supposed to thoroughly examine the person in case of a beep, surprisingly didn’t bother. Not only at this mall but at other such commercial complexes too security personnel responded similarly, ignoring the alert sounds sent by the DFMD.

The attempt by the Commissioner’s Task Force personnel to check security systems at public places by sending decoy parties once again exposed how security is becoming low priority making lives of people vulnerable.

“The guards were ignoring beep sounds made by the DFMD though they are expected to further check the person with a hand-held metal detector to make sure the former is not carrying explosives or firearms,” a police officer said.

At another commercial building, the guards failed to notice when the TF constable walked through carrying a nine inches long steel rod. At Manju theatre in Secunderabad, the TF authorities found during the inspection that bags of viewers were not being checked before entering inside.

All this indicates that the much-hyped security consciousness at places witnessing huge congregations of people is short term. “Security arrangements at malls, theatres and crowded places are being made only on an ad hoc basis. When there is terror attack or a fire accident, different agencies react,” a police officer observed. Hyderabad police carried out a massive campaign for months together following the terror strike at Mecca Masjid in May 2007 and the twin blasts three months later at Gokul Chat and Lumbini Park. After persuading managements of public and private places, the police even registered criminal cases against some theatre managements and mall owners after they failed to take adequate security precautions.

The drive to inculcate security sense among people was subsequently not carried vigorously for various reasons. “With no persistent efforts from police, owners of many complexes and malls too started viewing it as unimportant subject,” a security agency owner remarked.

Strict security norms, including round-the-clock video surveillance on suspects, are followed at some places like Inorbit mall at Madhapur.

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