It seems that the directives issued by the police to the banks here on the security issues at the ATM counters have fallen on deaf ears.
Even after repeated directives, most of the banks in the district are yet to take any measure to address the issues.
However, both the City and Rural police wings have started their jobs right by collecting the details of the ATMs that lack security. The list prepared by the police reflects the pathetic condition of most ATMs.
Not only do most ATMs in the district lack securitymen, but most of which do have security personnel have poorly equipped security guards. There are more than 100 ATMs across the district without a security guard and having no defence against any attack similar to the one that took place inside an ATM in Bangalore where an armed miscreant brutally assaulted a woman.
Most of the security guards posted outside the ATM counters whom Express contacted expressed apprehensions over the absence of equipment for self-defence and expressed their helplessness in tacking certain situations.
Most banks spend more than Rs 10,000 a month for deploying a security guard outside an ATM counter but the guards have only a mobile phone to communicate with the authorities to seek help during an emergency.
Even as banks have turned a blind eye to the security aspects, the police are doing their best to avert untoward incidents. The police had earlier instructed the bank officials to relocate the ATMs to crowded places from isolated spots. Employing security guards at all ATMs was also a long-term demand.
The other instructions include using high-quality cameras and ensuring better lighting inside the counters.
When contacted, police officials said that they were taking steps to ensure the safety of people who withdrew money from ATMs. According to the Rural SP Thomas Kutty, the places where ATMs are located are under the surveillance of the police.
“We have not started taking action against the banks; instead, our men are conducting additional patrolling near ATMs in isolated areas,” he said.
The City Police too are maintaining maximum vigil. “We have collected the details of the ATM counters that lack securitymen and of those where cameras are not installed. Special patrolling is carried out in areas where such ATMs are located,” said Control Room Assistant Commissioner P Bijoy.