It’s lovely to be able to report good news. But first, if you haven’t already, read Knysna FNB Puts the Public at Risk!
FNB may have passed the buck (shame on you) and not even bothered to respond properly via the branch or e-complaint even though it was confirmed that the issue had been passed higher up. Thankfully, SBV (the security company) stepped forward and showed that they’re top notch.
Mike Shipton, the Executive Head of Cash in Transit, gave me a long call from Gauteng. He demonstrated remarkable people skills because i relinquished my frustration almost immediately. He explained their role and challenges before we went on to discuss all that’s fantastic about Knysna. He then requested that area boss, Sam Crouser, travel from Port Elizabeth to meet with me and assess the security situation and operational alternatives. I won’t discuss the details but they’ve assured me that the deployment will be handled with better sensitivity to the public. Sam was also impressive and i’m glad to have met him. After our walk around the block, we had a solid conversation over lunch in Knysna Mall.
The proof will be in the future pudding, so to speak, but right now they get a BIG thumbs up. Thank you SBV! Maybe Lloyds of London was right in more ways than one when they stated that you are ‘the best risk managed cash-in-transit company in the world’.
On Thursday, September 1 2011, an SBV armoured vehicle parked in front of First National Bank Knysna for a pick-up. It was approximately 1.30pm, peak lunch period and the sidewalk was busy. We only have 3 main streets in Knysna and that point has the most traffic, being on the corner of Grey Street and the N2 which runs through town. There were 4 SBV guards but i don’t know if all belonged to the same vehicle as another had parked across the road, on the corner diagonally opposite, in front of the pharmacy (i need to check but that is possibly a no-parking zone owing to left-turning vehicles).
The problem is that pedestrians were refused to walk, causing a build-up in which i found myself. I queried a guard who wouldn’t answer me but instead, when i took out my cellphone to check the time, was told in a brusque tone that i was, “Not allowed to take my hands out of my pockets.” That may be irritating but definitely not the main issue which is that blocking off a public walkway is impractical and unconstitutional.
It is obvious that we live in tough times. In Knysna, crime is on the increase although armoured robberies, nationally, are down in lieu of ATM bombings which are unlikely to happen in Knysna during the day. But even if it were a high-risk, armoured robbery area, the guards were not clearing the area to practical effect (which could only happen if the public were much barricaded much further away). What they were doing, even if unintentional, was creating a human shield. Continue reading