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Police plan control room to monitor ATMs

Jeddah security authorities are studying the possibility of linking ATMs in the city with a security operation room for further surveillance around the clock.
Police spokesman 1st Lt. Nawaf Al-Bouq said the study also includes monitoring money-transfer vehicles via a tracking system.
Al-Bouq explained that prior coordination is in place between money-transfer vehicle firms and the security operation room to ensure no suspicious activity takes place during the replenishing of ATM machines with cash or to intercept other money-laundering activity.
“The Ministry of Interior notified transport firms of other precautionary measures for monitoring such activity,” he added.
A source at the National Commercial Bank said the study is in line with an important recommendation of a workshop held in Jeddah earlier this year. The workshop brought together parties such as the police department, banks, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) and money-transfer firms. They discussed proposals to find more integrated working methods.
The source said the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs set out specific requirements for ATM machines in terms of their location and specifications.
Discussions are ongoing between bank administrations, the Ministry of Interior and SAMA to agree to more reliable standards concerning technical design, the security factor and specifications of the machines according to the location of the bank branch or the commercial center.
“Linking ATM locations and the operation room and supporting the movement of money-transfer vehicles with electronic surveillance to track down their course will provide clients and staff with the maximum protection,” said Al-Bouq, adding: “This is a good move in view of the increasing incidents of crime.”
Companies involved in physically transferring cash need to improve their security, said Al-Bouq. “We need to dismantle the existing monopoly and authorize the entry of new firms that are endorsed by SAMA and the Interior Ministry.”
He said that such procedures are bound to boost performance and services and safeguard money. “It will also give incentive to firms and workers operating in the field of money-transfer,” he noted.
“Money-transfer firms suffer from a high turnover in employees, which subsequently weakens their performance,” said Al-Bouq, wondering at the same time why Saudi youth leave this field of work. “This is a high-risk job. When Saudis find the incentives very low, they leave instead of taking risks.”
He called on authorities to find ways to promote these jobs so that young Saudi men view the work as attractive and safe.
In view of the increasing demand for ATM services, he said, there should be further expansion in granting licenses to more fund-transfer firms.

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