“We have no powers to implement police suggestions”

Are the higher officials of banks indifferent to the suggestions made by the police on security aspects at banks? It seems so going by the complaints made by representatives of banks who pleaded helplessness in implementing the security measures suggested by the city police. “We have no powers at all on executing those suggestions,” a bank manager said at an interaction meeting organised by the city police with bankers here on Thursday.

The police have already asked them to fit closed-circuit television cameras, anti-burglary alarms and to appoint round-the-clock security guards.

“You (the police) should take up these issues directly with our regional/zonal heads. They do not bother to look into these issues forwarded to them by us,” one of them said.

Stating that the police should make their higher officials realise that such security measures were mandatory, he said that the managers could be supportive to implement them.

“Cancel licenses”

Another official said that the police could seek the Collector's intervention in this aspect. He is a licensing authority. “If he threatens to withdraw the licences to those banks that do not comply with the security norms, all the banks will fall in line,” another said.

A manager said that the cost involved in putting up the security gadgets was nothing when compared to the crores of rupees of profit they make every year.

The bankers came up with suggestions such as periodical checking of the functioning of the CCTVs, lookout for vulnerable areas in the bank building in security point of view, and appointing guards at the ATMs. They wanted the police officials to check the alertness of security guards at the ATMs. “Many of them are found sleeping inside the air-conditioned ATMs at night,” a manager said.

The Deputy Commissioner (Law and Order), R. Thirunavukkarasu, wanted the officials and the staff of banks to keep an eye on suspicious body language of strangers. “If you are vigil enough you can make out the difference between regular customers and strangers,” he said.

He said that the culprits do take up reconnaissance activity to study functioning and movement of the bank branches before they strike. “During confessions, the culprits have said that they had given up attempts in some branches where the vigilant staff had questioned their presence,” he said.

The Assistant Commissioner of Police, A. Ganesan, said that the police had intensified patrolling in the city.