Over 50 per cent of nationalised banks with branches in Chennai have failed to respond to a move by the city police to collect details about fulfilment of certain safety guidelines in their branches. The move, launched in coordination with the Reserve Bank of India, was in the wake of the two armed robberies in the city. Most private banks have however, already submitted a report.

According to police sources, representatives of 26 nationalised banks and 39 private banks here were requested to submit reports on safety features such as presence of armed guards, CCTV cameras, burglar alarms and hotline to the nearest police station following a meeting on February 21 with the Commissioner of Police J.K. Tripathy and senior RBI officials.

The meeting focused on better security measures for bank branches in order to prevent robberies and safeguard customers and officials. As installation of safety equipment at branches is a guideline and not a mandatory provision, senior police personnel and RBI officials pointed out the vulnerability of branches with inadequate security features to a robbery attempt and the risks involved in case of an incident on these lines.

A time period of one month until March 21 was decided within which all banks were requested to furnish details of security measures at all branches.

Police have received reports from most private banks, many of which do not even have an armed guard at most of their branches. “Despite the two robberies having taken place at nationalised bank branches here, only a little more than 40 percent of the nationalised banks here have submitted reports to us. Out of the ones who submitted reports, some branches don't have CCTV cameras and armed guards,” said a senior officer.

Sources with the RBI said that the banks are running a ‘reputation risk' by not fulfilling the required safety features. “We can't insist the banks as they have their own set of guidelines. While private banks are quick to respond, nationalised banks seems to have a lacklustre approached towards essential safety features in branches. We hope rest of the banks would fulfil the requirements before the given date,” a RBI security expert added.