Four security guards were nabbed by the Bangalore police on August 22 for robbery of Rs 22.4 lakh from the school where they were deputed. In Mumbai, a woman lawyer was killed by the security guard of her apartment because she had yelled at him. These and many other incidents have once again raised the issue of ‘how safe are we when protectors turn predators?’.
And with the high demand of security guards in Bangalore, it has become a necessity to ensure that their background verification and constant monitoring is a priority by respective agencies.
When City Express spoke to a few security agencies in the city, most of them stated that they are strict in their verification process and it has been carried out without fail. However, K J Naidu, Managing Director of a security service in Peenya said, “We have security guards working with us from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and even Bangladesh. It is compulsory to provide original ID proof and finger prints but people sometimes provide duplicate certificates and in such circumstances it becomes difficult for us.”
He added, “Sometimes our clients might have immediate demand and since we don’t want to disappoint our client, we employ the security guards without verification and undertake the verification after they are appointed. In fact, most of the security agencies follow this practice.”
On the other hand, Captain Reddy, Director of Force 9 Security And Allied Services in Dodda Banaswadi says, “We have about 3000- 3500 security guards working with us and we ensure that proper verification is undertaken before they are employed with us.”
Another leading security service in the city is G4S. An official from the company told City Express, “We have our own police team consisting of retired police personnels, who undertake the background verification. It is then followed up by confirming with Bangalore police.”
The Joint Commissioner of Crime, East, B Dayanand says, “We have an internal security division dedicated for this purpose. However, it is the responsibility of the employers to ensure that background check of the security guards is undertaken before employing them.”
The Internal Security Division of Bangalore City Police is the licensing authority for the security agencies in the city. Ramakrishna Prasad, SP from the Division said, “There are still many security agencies in Bangalore which are running their show without any registration and licence. We will not grant a licence until and unless they apply through the District Police Officer (DPO) to us. Once they apply, we verify and check if they have followed all the norms and subsequently a decision is taken.”
He adds, “It is compulsory for the agencies to verify the background from the jurisdictional police officer.”
Hamari Suraksha, a website, was touted as a tool to solve cases of verification and was introduced in many cities which included Bangalore also. Through this website people were supposed to get their security guards, tenants, office cab drivers, washer men and women, milk delivery persons, vegetable vendors, rag pickers and cleaning staff, verified.
Under this initiative, unique identity cards were to be issued to people who come to live in Bangalore. Although inaugurated in Cubbon Park with huge fanfare one year back, it turned out to be a damp squib. When we spoke to the DCP of Cubbon Park police station, Ravikante Gowda, he said, “This is the first time I have heard of Hamari Suraksha, hence, I have no idea about the functioning of the site.”
Installation of CCTVs, GPS systems and home security alarms are a few options that institutions can rely on, other than security guards. However, these are yet to become mandatory.
Security guards’ take: “Just because of a few mischievous security guards, we are also looked at with suspicion. Most of us are here to support our family. The rigorous questioning sometimes does upset us but I guess it is part of the job,” says Nogen Kalita, a security guard working on MG Road. Another security guard says, “We understand that the formalities have to be met. Although it is tiring, I would advise everyone to abide by it.”