Warning: I am not making this up. If you are a UK taxpayer, you may wish to seek a doctor’s advice before reading any more of this story…
PENSIONERS and shoppers concerned about being mugged after withdrawing cash from the bank are being offered a police escort home in a district of east London. Posters displayed near banks and post offices explain residents can call up and arrange for a uniformed officer to see them safely home.[From Police escort for elderly ATM users | The Daily Telegraph]
Yet again, the hidden cost of cash rachets upwards. Who is paying for these policemen? Is it the merchants who say that cash is the cheapest form of payment? Is the the customers who use the ATMs? No, of course not, it’s the taxpayers. And as long as the social costs of cash remain unaligned with the private costs, we’ll carry on paying.
I don’t mean to imply that this taxpayer-subsidised nonsense is restricted to the UK. It isn’t. The problem of trying to protect people from criminals at ATMs is much more widespread.
Last month 56,000 police were deployed to guard about 80% of the country’s 98,000 cash machines on pension day in a bid to stop elderly people falling victim to the fraud.[From Finextra: DIY students tackle Japanese ATM fraud]
That’s heading towards one copper per cash machine. At this rate, unless we start charging people £25 per withdrawal, all of the budget for law enforcement is going to go on cross-subsidising cash. I don’t remember voting for that.
These opinions are my own (I think) and presented solely in my capacity as an interested member of the general public [posted with ecto]