The Home Department will create a new station house to police the landmark Sreepadmanabha Swamy Temple and its adjoining precincts.

The move is to legally empower the 250 policemen and officers in charge of the temple’s security. An officer in the rank of Assistant Commissioner or Circle Inspector will be the station house officer. He will have power to register cases and investigate.

The State police will also deploy its elite special weapons and tactics team, Thunderbolts Kerala, on standby as a quick reaction force.

The 30-member team will wield the latest fire-arms, including assault rifles, automatic pistols and sniper rifles, along with bomb detection and disposal equipment.

The teams, which are in a constant mode of training with SWAT units of other States, will be rotated periodically to ensure peak combat form and alertness.

Radar surveillance

As part of the third phase of the temple security scheme, an aerial radar surveillance system, possibly mounted on a dirge balloon equipped with high resolution downward looking cameras, will be set up near the temple to scan 10 sq km of the sky above the heritage locality for incoming flying objects, including planes, helicopters, drones, powered gliders, manned balloons and parachutes.

In the second phase, which is currently under way, the police will install electro-hydraulic bollards, short vertical posts, and road blockers 50 m away from the four main entrances of the temple to protect the ancient structure and its rare treasures from any armed attempt to breach its perimeter using vehicles laden with explosives.

At the press of a button, the bollards and blockers will emerge from their underground casings to the height of at least one meter above road-level. They can absorb impact loads up to 5,000 Kilo Newton, according to the police.

Bullet-proof

sentry posts fitted with light machine guns to return suppressing fire in the event of an armed attack will overlook the roads leading to the main entrances. Speed folding metal doors will guard the entrances.

A machine gun mounted armoured vehicle, protected against rocket launched grenade attacks and landmines, crewed by commandos will be on standby round-the-clock to support the sentries.

The police have also proposed that visitors to the temple be issued radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags to help security men track their movements unobtrusively. Soon pilgrims will have to pass through a bigger array of X-ray baggage scanners and doorframe-fitted metal detectors to enter the temple.

Surveillance cameras will capture the faces of visitors and a computer-based facial recognition system will compare their digital images with the facial features of wanted men, including terrorists and Interpol-listed treasure thieves.