L. Srikrishna

Get clearance certificate before setting up facility

Post only youngsters for night duty

CHENNAI: The police want banks to obtain clearance certificates from them prior to the establishment of automated teller machine (ATM) facilities in the city. This is one of the suggestions that the police have made to bankers to improve security around ATMs.

The police and representatives of various banks met recently following the alleged murder of a security guard at an ATM kiosk on Kamarajar Salai.

Senior police officers said a clearance certificate from the police would ensure that the bankers adhered to the security norms prescribed. Police records reveal that there were 1,304 ATMs in the city belonging to 55 banks. However, only 352 of the facilities had cameras. Most of the security personnel at the facilities were not well equipped to handle emergencies.

While security guards posted at the ATMs attached to banks had access to the telephone and other facilities, this was not the case in offline ATMs or those set up away from the banks.

The bankers at the meeting agreed to install cameras in the ATMs soon, police officials said.

The appalling working condition of the security guards was also an area of concern.

Security personnel on Kamarajar Salai said that they sat on the pavement and worked on 12-hour shifts a day, for which they were paid Rs. 3,000 a month.

Security guards should be well built, a local resident, and with an ability to handle emergencies. “We suggested that only youngsters be posted for night duty,” a police officer said. But, many private security agencies posted youth from northeastern States, who were unable to converse in the local language, at the ATMs. They were not given any communication gadget and were found to be ignorant of the location of the nearest police station, the police officials said.

Many ATMs in the city posted security guards only at night. The police said that this posed a risk as the kiosks did not have cameras. Isolated ATMs should be well secured.

A senior executive of a private security agency said that ATM maintenance or operation was being mostly outsourced. Except for a few public sector banks, several private banks appointed security agencies as their representatives for running the outlets. Right from carrying cash to loading it into the ATM chest and posting security guards were being taken care of by them. Though he admitted that the salary paid to the security personnel was low, he claimed that they provided the uniforms and shoes, and covered PF/ESI benefits, he noted.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central Crime Branch) K. Dharmarajan said that point books were available at the ATMs and that night round officers recorded them regularly.