HYDERABAD: Ever since the horrific incident of a woman being attacked inside an ATM in Bangalore, there have been growing concerns among the general public regarding safety inside ATMs.
Earlier in the year, several ATM burglaries have taken place in the city, including the one at the Mahesh Cooperative Urban Bank at AS Rao Nagar.
In view of such incidents, the police had issued a notifications to employee security guards round the clock at ATMs apart from installing CCTV cameras. “We strongly feel that every ATM should be manned apart from having CCTV cameras. We held a meeting recently with bank officials where all of them were directed to install CCTV cameras and deploy security guards in all ATMs,” DCP (crime) G Pala Raju said.
However, in reality a number of ATM kiosks do not house security cameras and some of them are still unmanned. The guards are old, weak and vulnerable. They are untrained and are not capable of defending themselves, et alone protecting others. “We are closely studying the Karnataka model with respect to the security. In Bangalore, the police have shut down ATMs of banks which have not followed the necessary security guidelines. We are looking to see if this can be implemented in Hyderabad as well,” Raju added.
Though banks have established a security system where only a card-holder can enter an ATM after swiping it, the system is dysfunctional at most of the kiosks.
On the other hand, banks have come out strongly in their defence and say all preventive and security measures have been put in place. “Almost all our ATMs are manned. Apart from this, we have CCTV cameras, in-built cameras and additional external cameras to record all movements. Even at places where there are no caretakers, there are cameras to ensure everything is recorded,” an official from the State Bank of India said.
When questioned about the lack of efficiency of the guards, the official said, “We have started e-surveillance where all the activity inside ATMs and the behaviour of caretakers are constantly monitored. This system is in practice in 300 ATMs across the country and within the next two months, we will ensure its implementation in all State Bank ATMs across the city.”