C. Shivkumar

Bangalore, Jan 4

THE terrorist scare among technology and BPO companies has spawned a new business opportunity for the resource-starved Bangalore police department - employee and vendor verification services.

And it is an opportunity that the department has seized with great enthusiasm. A top police official said, "Why not? We also need resources for providing security and it is just natural we look beyond the budget."

Such verifications are already undertaken on behalf of Central Government departments and Central PSUs. For these organisations, however, the police do not raise any bills.

The police plan to offer such screening services to IT and BPO entities in the city, since some of these entities, especially those promoted by US-based multinationals, are potential terror targets.

For employee verification services, the police have already prepared a tariff sheet. The minimum charges for MNCs are currently about Rs 6,000 per employee and for domestic companies the charges are slightly lower.

Not many private sector companies have availed themselves of the police department's services. The major reason for this is lack of awareness of the department's services; large corporates - both multinational and domestic - routinely rely on private verification.

For instance, Scandent, an IT services and BPO company, uses private detective agencies for employee verification, checking criminal antecedents and resumes of candidates for falsification of facts. Employees across all levels are now put through this scanner.

US multinationals currently use the services of companies such as Quest Screening Services, Global Screening Services, and Vibrant Detective Services, among others for this purpose.

Some are prepared to shift to the Bangalore police for verification.

Dr Pallab Bandyopadhyay, Chief People Officer, Scandent, said: "We would like to use the services offered by the police because of the sheer reach and network they have."

The preference for police verification stems from the large database, including access to other States. But the Bangalore police's reason to offer the services is clearly revenue-driven. Currently, the police department in Karnataka and virtually all other States work on a shoestring budget.

Allocations for the police departments are from the revenue account. In Karnataka, the allocations account for barely 0.6 per cent of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP).

These funds are clearly insufficient, especially in a regime where the police departments are expected to expend large amounts for strengthening Human Intelligence (HumInt) and Technology Intelligence (TecInt) resources.

HumInt implies employment for additional manpower in sensitive sectors and penetration of clandestine organisations with proclivity for employing terror.

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(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated January 5, 2006)
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