In a surprise check by police officials, it has been found that out of 633 Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in the Jalandhar district, 334 have no guards at night.
The checking has been reportedly done on the instructions of senior officials in Chandigarh after spurt in ATM thefts in the region.
As per details given by police officials, out of 281 ATMs in the jurisdiction of the rural police, 185 have no security guards during the night.
Among 185 ATMs, 138 have guards only for 12 hours from 8 am to 8 pm and 47 kiosks run without any guard either in morning or night.
In commissionerate’s jurisdiction, out of 352 ATMs, only 203 have security guards in the night, while the remaining 149 have no such protection.
Meanwhile, concerned over the spate of ATM thefts in the region, the rural police have decided to hold ‘thikri pehra’ (community policing in night) in the areas for their ATMs under their jurisdiction.
A team of rural police led by superintendent of police (investigation) HPS Khakh along with other officials found that there are around 281 ATMs in the five sub-divisions, Adampur, Kartarpur, Phillaur, Nakodar and Shahkot, out of which only 96 kiosks have permanent security guards for 24 hours.
However, the team members prepared a report over their findings and the banks which have no guards for 24 hours on their ATMs will be asked to depute guards.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, Khakh told, “It has been found in many areas where there have been eight to ten ATMs kiosks in the range of one kilometre and lying locked, which is surprising.”
The SP added that robbers had targeted only locked ATMs and looted cash money after uprooting the machines.
“As the rural police have vast areas, we have decided to hold ‘thikri pehra’ around the areas having ATMs, so that each ATM will be covered,” he added.
On the irresponsible attitude of banks, Khakh told that the rural police would issue notice to the concerned banks (185 ATMs) with a warning to depute security on the ATMs within a week, otherwise, the bank managers would face action for violations of orders issued by the district magistrate under section 144 of CrPC Act.
Deputy commissioner of police (DCP) Sandeep Kumar Sharma told that a meeting has been called with all banks to discuss the security of their ATMs and strict action would be taken against the banks violating guidelines issued by the police.