Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Abubakar
A programme of concerted action aimed at curtailing the new wave of bombing and robbery of banks and other financial institutions is being worked out between the police high command and chief security officers (CSO’s) of banks and other related organisations at a meeting in Abuja.
Initiated by the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Abubakar, the effort would also lead to the establishment of a bank security command similar to airport and railway police commands.
Kick-starting the meeting at the Force Headquarters, Abubakar noted that there was an urgent need to restructure the security measures put in place for bank security, stressing that with the dimension crimes have taken in the country, the need could not be over-emphasised.
He explained that increased killings of policemen and other bank personnel as well as the attendant loss of cash and other materials have made the effort more imperative.
While providing a clue on what could be done, he pointed to effective use of Close Circuit Television (CCTV), strict observance of scrutiny of bank staff’s personal details as well as improving the welfare packages made available to bank staff.
He told the CSO’s of the banks that the issue of escorts for banks was a serious matter which must be properly looked into to avoid situations whereby criminals waylay bank vehicles on escort duties with the attendant human and material losses.
According to him: “Because of the security challenges and sophistication of criminals in the country, we need to think pro-actively about providing security in the banks and other financial institutions. This is very important because we cannot continue with the way we do things at the moment.
“No matter what you have in the banks, the personnel need to be provided with adequate security to be able to do their jobs effectively without any fear of attack of being killed. Therefore, we need to overhaul the level of security we provide in our banks and this meeting will help us agree on the need to set up specialised security section for banks so that we can give them better training”.
The IGP explained that like what obtains in the nation’s airports and even with the railways, there was the need to have bank security command to be able to look into this special area and handle the peculiar delicate security needs of such institutions.
He further urged the banks to look critically into their recruitment processes and ensure that they have up-to-date data on their staff as well as properly scrutinise them even after their employment.
He also explained the need to collaborate with the police in the recruitment and training of private security who work in banks, stressing that there ought to be minimum standard for recruitment and training of such level of personnel.
Security of banks which he stressed need to be overhauled, should also look into the issue of provision of Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) for banks and to ensure that the Bullion Vans used are of specification and that the personnel deployed to accompany any van conveying any specie were of the minimum number and properly armed.
“When the attacks come, we shall be looking at the number of men at the banks. When you don’t have enough personnel, you should insist that a particular specie event should not take place.
“When you do not insist on that, we usually see that such specie transit could be attacked and because the personnel are not prepared, they would easily become vulnerable and would succumb to the attack of criminals,” IGP Abubakar stressed.
He also said the meeting would be looking into the issue of bank environment; the level of understanding between banks and the local police in the area; whether there are isolated bank branches; and issue of contract for specie escort.
Chairman of the bank CSOs, Mr. Clement Ebere of Diamond Bank, promised that the banks were at the meeting with open hand and assured of full cooperation with the Police in providing security at the banks.