Even as “pressure” is mounting on banks to provide security in ATM kiosks, following directions from the police here, private security agencies are hurriedly hiring people to be deployed as security guards.
As per the Private Security Agencies (Regulation) Act, 2005, security guards must undergo training (100 hours of classroom instruction and 60 hours of field training) spread over at least 20 working days.
But the question is: are the guards being deployed in ATM kiosks trained and are the banks checking to ensure that the security agencies are providing trained guards?
It appears that the answer is no. Many guards recruited overnight by some agencies here and deployed in ATM kiosks (on requests from banks) to avoid closure (the city police had shut down over 100 ATMs here recently owing to the absence of security) did not undergo the mandatory training.
Basic instructions given
They were just given some basic instructions such as allow one person (per ATM) inside the kiosk, tell customers to remove helmets before entering the kiosk, and request customers not to speak on their phones inside the kiosk.
When asked, a private security guard who did not want to be named, said: “No training has been given to me. I was free and one of my friends called me to check whether I am keen to work as a security guard. I agreed and so I am here.”
A couple of other guards also said they had not received any training before they were deployed at the ATM kiosks to work in two shifts (12 hours per shift). There are around 311 ATM kiosks of various banks in the city, of which only 120 had security till last week, according to a survey conducted by the city police.
Mysore District Lead Bank Manager K.N. Shivalingaiah told The Hindu that banks normally entered into agreements with private security agencies to avail security services for their ATM kiosks. “The agencies maintain that they provide trained guards,” he said.
“It may not be possible for the banks to check whether the guards are trained or not as the services are outsourced,” he said, while replying to a question on whether the mandatory guidelines were being adhered to.
According to him, registered security agencies comply with the rules under the Act. However, some unregistered agencies do not adhere to norms such as providing training and checking the credentials of the guards.
A representative of an ISO-certified security agency told The Hindu that the agency employed guards aged between 21 years and 45 years. The guards must have passed or failed SSLC and their credentials were checked before hiring them.
It is mandatory for private security agencies to register with the Labour Department and apply for licence from the police according to the Act.