The Kerala Police are preparing a “target folder” of key institutions in the State vulnerable to terrorist attacks to help its Special Weapons and Tactics Team, the ‘Kerala Thunderbolts’, prepare and rehearse assault tactics to counter and mitigate armed threats to such public facilities.
Home Department officials said the district-level list covered the State’s energy infrastructure (hydro-electric projects and power grids), high-profile shopping malls, IT campuses, dams, oil refineries, ports, harbours, airports, railway stations, and bus terminals.
They said the digitised folders would contain all “target information”, including the building plan and layout of vulnerable institutions and their neighbouring structures, to help SWAT commanders plan and practise counter-terrorist operations better.
The police would also be able to lessen the terrorist threat to such potential targets by suggesting situational crime prevention methods.
Such methods included, for instance, instituting better access control in important facilities, designing parking bays to contain vehicle bomb explosions, installing surveillance systems to rob terrorists of their element of surprise and to make it harder and riskier for radical groups to carry out full fledged armed attacks similar to the one in Mumbai.
The preparation of the target folders would also help the police drill employees of such institutions to evacuate from disaster zones in an orderly and rapid fashion and also train them to respond better to mass casualty situations. The exercise would also help the law enforcement understand and update risks to facilities reckoned to be “secure”.
The “Kerala Thunderbolts”, working in “units of eight, 11 and more, would periodically rehearse their assault plans in such “potential targets” in varied light and weather conditions. Such target specific rehearsals will enable the unit to know their potential operational areas better than their opponents and to rectify any flaws in their combat drills.
State Police Chief K.S. Balasubramanian and Inspector General of Police Manoj Abraham are heading the project.