Lest they let their guard down

Night patrol cops to do rounds of ATMs, stir securitymen out of sleep

Lest they let their guard down

Security guards manning the City’s ATM kiosks have a bigger enemy than machete-wielding assailants: Sleep. Braving this winter’s biting cold, as they curl up in blankets for a deep slumber, the City police have devised a plan to wake them up.

Personnel in night patrol vehicles have been instructed to go around the City, identify guards in various stages of drowsiness and stir them up for action.

As a top City police official told Deccan Herald, this wake-up role is part of a new policy to ensure round-the-clock alertness among the private security personnel.

The official admitted that these guards were untrained in arms and stood no chance against a well-planned attack. But, at least if they were alert, their mere presence at the ATM kiosks could be deterrence enough for the petty criminals, said the official. 

Stung by the vicious attack on a 44-year-old woman inside a Corporation Bank ATM here on November 13, the City police had given banks three days to post guards at the kiosks.

Over a month and a half after the attack, most ATMs have the men, but many struggle to stay awake past midnight. This laxity and the absence of enough CCTVs have emboldened criminals to strike at these vulnerable targets at least twice in the last fortnight.

It was the proximity of a night patrol team that saved a brave ATM guard, Shahabuddin, and helped the police nab one of the culprits on Sunday morning.

Fortunately, he had been only lying down and was not asleep when the attackers sneaked into the SBI kiosk on Begur Main Road, hit him with a helmet and tied him up.  
But if Shahabuddin was lucky, his fellow securitymen across the City may not be so. Here’s one episode last week, that could have proven dangerous: In a rush to refill his pocket before dawn, Rishi had stopped his taxi from the airport at an ATM on Indiranagar 100 ft road.

Deep slumber

It was 1.30 am, but no guard was visible outside. Yet, he ventured inside only to find the blanketed security personnel in deep slumber. Rishi spent the next five minutes withdrawing money, counting the notes and made enough movements to break the silence within. The guard slept through the entire length of time.

Besides the wake-up call, the police have also decided to redouble their decade-old practice of keeping a close watch on the money machines. For, they cannot count on alert Shahabuddins everywhere.

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