Банкеръ Weekly



Structural changes in the Ministry of Interior that lasted nearly half a year did not allow that changes be made to Regulation N I-171 of the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) and the Ministry of Interior. The regulation is extremely important since it defines the rules for protection of banks and their most significant departments. The document which was adopted in August 2004 and contributed to a number of debates will become valid on September 30, 2006. Its last amendments and supplements were published by the Official Gazette on June 23, 2005. However, back then bankers and ministry leaders reached an agreement that the document needed additional amendments regarding the physical guards in bank branches and offices as well as the technical requirements towards monitoring devices and level of armour of glasses and partitions in the halls. It turned out, though, that the banking community representatives had nobody to negotiate with, because at the beginning of 2006 the ministry led by Roumen Petkov started radical restructuring in relation to the application of the new Ministry of Interior Act and the civilianization of the police. The administrative structure of the department had to be defined by a special regulation which was adopted no sooner than May 2006. Then new heads of departments and directorates were appointed.
The responsibility for protecting the banks
will be given to a special department in the Counteraction to Crime, Public Order Security and Prevention Chief Directorate. The directorate is headed by commissar Vlado Ivanov. Still, it remains unclear who will take up the senior post. That the ministry is still restructuring itself is also proven by the fact that from October police officers who guard BNB and the ministries will be re-appointed as gendarmeries. The reason is that, according to the new structure of the Ministry of Interior, the gendarmerie will occupy with the guarding of strategic sites. And there is hardly a more strategic site than the buildings of the central bank and its printing house where the vaults for storage of money are located. That is why the protection of BNB will be entrusted to the gendarmerie.
What is tragic in this case
is that the bank managers themselves have failed to take the necessary measures to get rid of Regulation N I-171 of BNB and the Ministry of Interior, guarding and security experts say. It would have been enough if the heads of the Commercial Banks Association lobbied, when the crediting institutions act was voted, for cancelling paragraph 2 of the closing and transitional regulations, on the basis of which the regulation in question is issued. That is why when the act becomes valid on January 1, 2007, the regulation would have been cancelled automatically because there would be no legal grounds for its existence. However, the association did nothing of the kind. Therefore, on September 30, 2006 banks will become dependent on the police guarding and security requirements, no matter how burdening they will be to them.

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