Karachi: Rs1.5m robbed from bank in Defence
KARACHI: Four armed robbers along with a bank guard looted Rs1.5 million from a bank branch in Defence on Tuesday. This was the ninth bank robbery this year and the second within six days where a security guard connived with the bandits to rob off a bank. Four robbers, two wearing pants-shirt and two clad in shalwar-kameez, barged into the Soneri Bank in DHA Phase–II Extension accompanied by its security guard, Mohammed Shahid, Mehmoodabad SDPO Syed Altaf Hussain said.
They took the bank staff and customers hostage at gunpoint and took the cashier to the strong room, from where they looted about Rs1.5 million in cash and escaped.
Police arrived at the spot and cordoned off the crime scene. The CCTV cameras were not functioning when the robbery took place, the SDPO said. Forensic experts were also called to collect evidence.
Shahid was from the Rescue Security Company and had been posted at the bank four days back without going through the legal verification procedure issued by the police, Hussain said.
Just an hour before the robbery, an ASI of the Defence police station had visited the bank to check the security protocols in place.
The bank had been sent a copy of the standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued by the DIG South to adopt security measures but the management had not yet informed its headquarters about the proposal, Hussain said.
Neither were the CCTV cameras functioning nor was the security bunker build inside the bank. The ASI had told the bank manager to write a letter to the headquarters and give him a copy of it. The policeman left the bank after the e-mail was sent.
According to the security SOPs, all visitors should be allowed in only after a physical check by the guard deployed at the main gate, while another guard should be posted inside a concrete hideout on the mezzanine floor. The security protocols recommend that CCTV cameras should be checked daily and any dysfunctional cameras replaced and recordings should be stored in a safe place. Any security guards hired by the banks should be thoroughly interviewed and verified from the Police Forensic Division, and the DSPs or SHOs of the area.
Sharfuddin Memon, the adviser on home affairs, talking to The News said there was a need to reactivate the Security Agencies Verification Cell, which was not working effectively. Due to an increasing demand for security guards, the firms skipped the verification process and hired guards, who mostly did not know how to fire a gun, he added.
Memon said the security agencies needed to be properly monitored and the District SPs should make surprise visits to the companies’ offices to verify the credentials of the guards, for which the Sindh Home Department was planning to adopt strict measures. The adviser also suggested a system to ensure the registration of every security company with the verification cell.