Banks fail to heed police orders; many ATMs remain unguarded

Some banks say it is tough to find guards who can work only at night

Banks fail to heed police orders; many ATMs remain unguarded

Nearly a year after the police issued orders saying every bank must mandatorily appoint security guards at all their ATMs, instal CCTV cameras inside and outside the kiosk and instal an emergency alarm, which when activated would send signals to the nearest police station, a reality check by Deccan Herald on Tuesday afternoon revealed that several ATMs in busy and residential areas were left unguarded.

The orders were issued following the brutal attack on a 44-year-old woman at a Corporation Bank ATM kiosk near the BBMP head office on November 19, 2013.

At a couple of ATM kiosks on KG Road, the chair meant for the security guard was found empty and there was no sight of the guard for at least half an hour.

The situation was similar at the Axis Bank ATM at Nagasandra Circle in Basavangudi. While many people waited in a queue outside the Citi Bank ATM near Cox Town, there was no security guard in sight to keep tabs on the people entering and leaving the kiosk. The scene was no different at many ATM centres in interior areas.

In most of the places, the security guards who were supposed to keep a watch on the kiosk were seen spending time with neighbouring shopkeepers.

Only after being informed that the kiosk was being photographed, the guards came running back to occupy their chairs.

The police said that even during the n ights, the guards were found missing, but after spotting the patrol vehicle, they run back to the kiosk from nowhere.

Sandeep Patil, DCP (Central), said, “Every night, the beat policemen sign the point book which is kept at the kiosk. They also make sure that the guards are not sleeping inside the kiosk. These visits by the night patrol police will help in keeping the guards alert."

“Majority of the kiosks have met the safety guidelines. The banks which have still not implemented the guidelines will have to act quickly. If not, they will be held responsible if something goes wrong," said Srihari from State Level Bankers’ Committee.   

Some banks, however, say that it is tough to find guards who are ready to work only in the nights, without taking naps.

A manager from a nationalised bank said, “People expect the guards to be young and strong. But how can we get someone like that for a monthly salary of Rs 5,000? To support their families, they will have to work elsewhere in the morning, and at times, they do double shifts without breaks just to make some extra bucks.”

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