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British ATM network Link says that financial institutions have installed 419 free-to-use ATMs last year in poor British communities as part of a government initiative to provide free ATM services to those areas, according to a report from the Link Consumer Committee. Overall, ATM deployers installed 2,000 free-to-use ATMs in the United Kingdom in 2007, bringing the number of such machines to 38,000 as of the end of June, according to the report. More than 1 million consumers living in lower-income communities have benefited from the ATM effort, the report says. Link says it plans to install more free-to-use ATMs in the next 12 months. While the committee is pleased with the results of the scheme, concerns abound that the ATMs could increase crime in some areas. The committee suggests the government and local police work with ATM operators to maintain safe and secure access to the machines.

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