With deployment of security guards being made mandatory at all ATM centres, The Hindu enquired with security agencies if they had been flooded with demands from banks. We learnt that they had not witnessed any marked demand even after the police set a deadline to either post guards at every ATM or close kiosks that lack adequate security.

Karnataka Security Services Association president Flight Lt. (retired) K.P. Nagesh said, “Banks have still not taken the security guidelines seriously. We are ready to supply the guards but there is not much demand. Many banks want temporary arrangements. If they had taken the guidelines seriously, there would have been a lot of demand.” The association charges Rs. 10,800 for each personnel of which 60 per cent goes to the guard, 30 per cent towards taxes and other expenses while the agency gets the rest.

Other agencies too said that they had not seen an increase in demand from banks.

A representative of G4S Security Solutions said, “Currently, there are over 75 lakh security guards across the country. This incident (attack in ATM kiosk) should have prompted the banking industry to review the existing safety measures in order to check occurrence of such incidents in future. Leading banks in India, who take security of their customers seriously, must review their entire security mechanism to plug gaps.”

Highlighting the importance of posting guards, representatives of security agencies said that their presence is necessary because customers focus on transactions at an ATM rather than the surroundings. They also said that CCTV cameras supported by a central monitoring system could ensure immediate response in case of such incidents.

What about training?

Banks as well as security agencies said that the focus is on training guards in defence techniques rather than providing them with weapons, which require licences and thorough training. They said that there is a need for the government to identify centres to impart special training in technical and soft skills to guards.

Mel Brooks, CEO, G4S India, said, “Security personnel must be trained in the use of technology in line with technological advancements, increased and varied threat perceptions. The government’s initiative of setting up SKSDC (Security Knowledge and Skill Development Council) should provide the necessary empowerment. Our guards are trained to keep an eye on their surroundings and identify potential threats, and to deal with a threat/incident. At the site, the guards are regularly advised to follow the Post & Site Instructions.”

According to figures provided by private security agencies, the industry is one of the largest employment generating sectors in India. Its estimated rate of growth is 18 per cent between 2012 and 2015. At present, about 15,000 private companies operate in this industry. However, only about 25 per cent are in the organised sector.

Rough estimates provided by the agencies indicate that there are approximately 2.5 lakh security personnel in the city at present and another 2 lakh in the rest of the State.

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