Sunday , 24 March 2019

Making Money and Men Safe at Banks

IT may not be a huge amount but theft of cash from a bank in Goa is very unusual and hence a matter of serious concern. According to preliminary reports, an insider’s involvement cannot be ruled out in the theft from the Bank of India, Mapusa branch on Wednesday, though there is no concrete evidence of it. It is strange no employee at the bank even noticed or smelt something wrong when three men walked out with a suitcase containing Rs 12 lakh. It was only when the lady cashier realized the cash was missing that she raised an alarm. It is quite evident that the group of men who committed the crime was aware of minute details and might have visited the spot before committing the crime.

The whole episode looks suspicious. How come the cashier was engaged in talking to “customers” when an Inquiry Desk existed? What was the security guard doing all this while? When a man enters the cashier’s chamber from behind, how come other staffers fail to notice? It is also intriguing how the cashier left the door open when it is against security protocol. The CCTV also was not very helpful in tracking the group’s whole criminal action. There are other questions:  when the cashier realized after some time that the bag was missing, did she first inform the manager and then raise an alarm? How long did the bank take to inform the police? Wasn’t that much time sufficient for the robbers to flee to a safer spot? Obviously there were serious lackings and lapses in security measures at the Mapusa bank, to which was added confused and delayed response of the officials.

It is not just the Mapusa bank; most banks do not have very sound security measures and alert systems. There is need for every bank to train all its employees on what steps to take in case of a theft or robbery. It is not enough to train cashiers or tellers, who are the most vulnerable of course, but every employee. The training should not be done just once as a formal routine but regularly. Had all employees been alert, probably the crime would not have happened at Mapusa or at least detected quickly. If the employees are properly trained they can even handle a gang of robbers without letting any member of the staff or customer being harmed. Handling of theft and robbery at banks requires a very tactful handling as the thieves and robbers are usually armed. Yelling, talking on phone, arguing with criminals or making sudden movements could put lives of employees and customers at risk. Apart from trained employees, the banks must have foolproof security systems and security personnel in place of course, but the police too have a major role in prevention of bank theft and robbery by keeping a constant vigil and nabbing the criminals quickly.

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