Due to their nature (possession of large or small amounts of cash), banks are one of the most endangered facilities, so safety cannot be compromised in any way (safes, facilities of special interest, state facilities).
A bank can be robbed of computers, flat screens, IT equipment … but the burglars usually come to the bank for something quite different. In the most serious robberies of banks, a vehicle is used to remove (tear out) safes and ATMs from the premises, for instance, with the help of a wheel loader.
There are two conflicting factors. The building, the entrance, the cashier’s counter, security, procedures, technical systems… all have to be user-friendly, unobtrusive and inconspicuous for the visitors, principals and employees, while at the same time ensuring the highest level of security and protection. The assault, robbery or burglary of a bank is not perpetrated by occasional petty thieves or pickpockets, but by well-organised criminals, who usually know the technical security systems and also know how to disable them. They can be very violent and ruthless in pursuing their intentions. Everyone in a bank is at risk: the employees, principals and security guards; the latter being the most exposed due to the nature of their work. The greater the organisational, systemic and technical security, the lower is the level of risk, and vice versa. The level of safety also depends on whether the facility in question is a bank establishment, the central bank or the central safe.
We have to be aware of the fact that the entire system is only as reliable as its weakest link is. The system as a whole functions poorly if an excellent and expensive anti-theft central control panel is connected to poor and unreliable detectors, and vice versa. The detectors represent the most sensitive part of the system, which is why proper selection and installation are very important. Anti-theft central control panels are in accordance with the Slovene standard (SIST EN 50131-1) divided into 4 security grades. The central control panels in security grades 2, 3 and 4 are intended for professional safeguarding of important facilities, which require the transfer of the alarm system from the central control panel through special lines to the police or the company providing security, which have their own control centres to receive alarm signals and to intervene immediately upon receiving the alarm.
Even after the burglar (the robber or the attacker) has entered the building, it is still possible to prevent the execution of the planned activities (with the help of technical means). This should never be attempted by resisting or trying to prevent the robbery, as we could seriously jeopardize our own life and the lives of others on the premises. An efficient way to prevent the robbery is the use of a security fog generator (smoke liquid under pressure). Such systems, which are not yet in wide use in Slovenia, function so that upon activation, the entire room fills with thick smoke – fog in a very short time, which makes orientation or any fast movement by anyone in the room completely impossible. The burglar is thus unable to carry out his or her plan, while the event attracts so much attention it forces the burglar to flee. The system is tailored in accordance with the needs of the employees, allowing them to calmly wait for the arrival of the police, which is not in the culprit’s best interest. He or she is forced to leave the premises immediately before he or she will not be able to see a thing. The security fog is also efficient in safeguarding ATMs from vandalism and at take-over points, where armoured vehicles are waiting to take over or unload bank valuables or money. It is also used on driveways, stations and in narrow passages where there is an increased risk of attack. It is important that the security fog spreads in the direction which drives the burglar/robber from the premises instead of trapping him or her, as the panic and sense of danger might cause the burglar or robber to lose control. Security fog is completely harmless to human health and leaves no traces. It is removed by ventilating the premises.
The statistical data from the countries (South America), where the attackers tend to be very violent and where these systems are in wide use in case of robberies and attacks, are very encouraging. Security fog surprises the perpetrator and, in most cases, drives him or her away without causing any damage and without the use of firearms.