The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has erected overhead wooden safety ‘baffles' at its small arms firing range at Pallipuram, near here, to protect people living adjacent to the training facility from stray bullets.

CRPF Group Centre Deputy Inspector-General K.V. Madhusoodhanan said the structure would ensure that bullets fired within the 200-metre range were contained within its boundaries.

A steep earthen slope at the target end of the firing range is the primary impact area for the bullets fired in the facility. It prevents the projectiles from ricocheting off the impact area and straying outside the range. The range is surrounded by tall impact-absorbing walls, which also muffles the sound of gunfire.

The overhead safety structures are erected in a manner that the shooter, regardless of his shooting position, cannot sight the sky downrange or fire bullets upward, inadvertently or otherwise.

The CRPF is currently training two battalions at Pallipuram. The recruits start their firearms training with .22 rifles and move to more lethal assault rifles (SLRs, INSAS and AK 47s) and carbines, including the German-made Heckler and Koch MP 5 machine pistols, used in close-quarter combat.

The recruits train intensely to enhance their physical strength and endurance. The training includes running cross country, up to 20 km in a predetermined timeframe, with combat gear weighing almost 20 kg.

They are also learn swimming, diving, water rescue, un-armed combat (a deadly mix of Judo and Karate), rifle drill, riot-control, urban warfare, administering first aid, map reading and use of non-lethal ammunition. They are taught to uphold human rights and win the affection of the populace.

Each recruit starts his day with two eggs and a glass of milk. Their diet includes poultry meat five days a week and fish on weekends. In November, they will undergo a basic course in jungle warfare. This will be followed by a ‘battle inoculation drill,' which involves jungle treks at night, simulated ambushes and fire fights using live ammunition. Some of the new recruits will be drawn into the CRPF's elite Special Action Force commando battalions engaged in counter-insurgency operations.