Are Your Bank Couriers Protected?
Can you imagine the time, effort and cost involved in reconstructing the banks proof work (cancelled checks, special delivers branch supplies, etc) if an attacker suddenly way-laded the banks carrier, while traveling from the bank branch to its operation center? Believe me, I’ve been there and done that and it’s no cake-walk.
All an attacker would need do is to spend some time in observation of the courier’s routes and time schedules, within most banking organizations. As in all banking security procedures, however, this exposure can also be reduced by certain precautions.
Non-negotiable banking documents can potentially be devastating to both the bank and the customer, if the items happen to get destroyed. And, re-constructing such items, such as checks, can and will be quite costly, if such courier deliveries do not arrival as planned.
So, what is a bank courier and what do they transport? Simply put, a bank courier is defined as any bank employee transporting in their possession non-negotiable bank property from one point to another. Usually, from the banking branches to the banks processing center. So, let us review the bank courier security in a little more detail.
Proof work, special deliveries and branch supplies should be transported in secure fire resistance containers.
Where practical, the above mentioned items should be transferred by banking in-house personnel. When such service is not available or is not cost effective, such as interstate air transports, a contract service can be utilized. In this event, the banking legal authority should draft a very specific contract, in protection of the bank, specifying that the contract service be responsible for any recovery cost, if document reconstruction is necessary.
Courier Employee Security
- When possible, couriers should park at a location where the vehicle can be observed from within.
- Courier vehicle doors should be locked at all times whether parked, moving, vacant or occupied.
- Couriers should always be on the lookout for suspicious situations. Especially, when the same vehicle is observed over and over.
- If the courier feels followed, the courier should continue past the next scheduled stop to a safe location and notify the police.
- The courier should not stop, for any reason, while in route to or from a location, except for an emergency.
- All vehicles should be unmarked.
- All vehicles, when possible, should have lockable trunks, electric door locks, audible alarm buttons on the remote key ring and fire extinguishers.
- Vans and camper shell pick-ups should have lockable rear compartments separated from the vehicle cabs.
- Private vehicles should not be used by bank employees unless approved by the bank Security Officer.
- Each banking location should have an updated copy of the courier schedule.
- If a courier does not arrive within a fifteen minute period after expected, the courier supervisor should be notified. The banks security manager and the police should be notified, if the delay cannot be explained.
- All proof work, special deliveries and branch supplies should be transported in the vehicles locked trunk or a locked rear compartment.
- Transportation should be confined to the bank personal only, with no consideration given to so-called friends or hitch hikers.
- Couriers should not travel armed. If necessary, under special circumstances, this duty should be by an armed guard or member of the banks security department.
- Local delivery containers should be constructed of a low impact type material such as plastic or cardboard.
- Over-the-road containers should be constructed of a high impact fire proof type material such as heavy cloth or metal,
- If the bank has a twenty-four hour alarm monitoring console, the vehicle could be equipped with two way radio devices.
- If no radio communication is available, the couriers should be equipped with cellular telephones.
Remember, even the most effective communication system is of little use if, during an emergency response, staff members cannot tell others their location. This problem can be reduced with the purchase of global positioning system (GPS) terminals. Inexpensive, small and lightweight, these terminals have become standard equipment for hikers, truck drivers, and aircraft. So, why not include the GPS technology in courier transportation.
- New couriers should be trained on all phases of the operation within a month of employment.
- Additional training sessions should be held at intervals no longer than six months.
- Training sessions should concentrate on the latest criminal trends against the banking courier industry.
- Banking courier security policies should always be reviewed.
Within two weeks after an attack or loss, the bank security department should analyze the occurrence and prepare a critique to include:
- Procedures that proved faulty and must be changed.
- Loss or injury resulting from failure to follow procedures.
- Successful application of procedures that resulted in the elimination of reduction of loss, prevention of injury, or apprehension of an attacker.
The fact that a loss or attack has occurred and the details of the occurrence should be communicated only to those who have a “need to know”, this is necessary for the protection of the loss items and to avoid customer panic.
Remember, there are many structural and procedural steps, most of which do not reduce efficiency or effectiveness, which will tend to deter criminal activity against the banks couriers. Ideally, these steps will be so subtle that they will not be offensive to the parties involved but so apparent that criminals will go elsewhere. Not all losses or attacks can be prevented, however, as there is no absolute defense against a determined attacker and some attacks are made by persons not rational enough to perceive the deterrents. For these reasons all necessary steps should be taken continuously, to minimize such losses when attacks occur.