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Safeguarding Delhi for the Games

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Scene at the Delhi police control room, the backbone of the force.
Scene at the Delhi police control room, the backbone of the force.

Devesh K. Pandey

The police are procuring gadgets and technologies that meet world standards

NEW DELHI: With the Capital entering the final lap of preparations for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, the Delhi police are also gearing up for the grand event. Aiming to make it a truly memorable occasion for the participants and visitors, the force is busy charting out an impregnable security arrangement keeping in mind all the threat perceptions.

Under the modernisation schemes, the police have been procuring state-of-the-art gadgets and technologies that meet world standards. On the weaponry front, the force has placed demands for 400 Austrian Glock-17 semi-automatic pistols and about 200 MP 5 sub-machineguns. While the Glock pistols would be allocated for general law and order maintenance, the light-weight and sophisticated MP 5 would mainly form part of the armoury of the security cordon for the visiting dignitaries, sportsmen and VIPs from various countries.

An advance trunk communication system is also on the purchase list. The high-end technology will facilitate both dedicated and inter-linked networks for secure communication at stadiums and residential complexes of the participants. It will also be used for coordination during the movement of the sportsmen, dignitaries and VIPs.

“We are also planning to get a frequency jammer and more bullet-proof vehicles,” said a police officer.

Exclusively for the Games, the Delhi police have floated global tenders for procurement of 55 X-ray scanners, four sets of equipment for anti-sabotage checking teams, about 200 multi-zonal door-frame metal detectors and 550 hand-held metal detectors.

Strengthening the general surveillance system, the force has been installing sophisticated closed-circuit television camera networks. The Rs.200 crore-project is envisaged to cover 58 market places and 27 border checkpoints. Helicopters will be used extensively for conducting aerial reconnaissance.

Surveillance gadgets

Procurement of access-control and surveillance gadgets for venues will be done by the respective managers, but the police would be consulted on their specifications and placements.

As part of the counter-terror and anti-sabotage measures, the police are upgrading their bomb-detection and disposal squads through procurement of bomb blankets. The police plan to induct 48 more trained sniffer dogs for anti-sabotage checks. Two more BDS teams, apart from the existing ones, are being raised.

The central police control room, the backbone of the force, has already been upgraded through installation of an automatic call distribution system and introduction of map projection and an LCD display panel comprising Global Positioning System locations and a GPS-based vehicle tracking system for real-time monitoring of PCR vans. The force will have a fleet of about 1,000 PCR vans by 2010.

The Delhi police in coordination with the Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited have undertaken an umbrella project for an integrated data communication network called “Cyber Highway”. It will enable implementation of convergent services of applications like the common integrated police application (connecting police stations to automate workflow and crime and criminal data organisation), the call interception and monitoring system, the automatic vehicle tracking system, the video surveillance system, CCTV monitoring, video conferencing and interlinking of police exchanges.

An intelligent traffic monitoring system will also be a branch of the “Cyber Highway” project that has been approved by the Union Home Ministry for the Games-centric areas. “A proper plan should be in place to ensure quick passage of contingents from airport to hotels, housing complexes and venues, that too without compromising the security aspects and hindering normal vehicular movement,” said a police officer, adding that foreign consultants were presently working on a detailed plan.

Although the final blueprint is under way, the Games-related areas will have a network of sophisticated cameras with specific purposes related to traffic. There would be “intelligent” cameras controlling signals by examining the volume of traffic in different directions and doing away with idle-time problems in case of standalone ones. Then there will be cameras that would read the traffic flow to help issue route-change advisories to road users through electronic boards installed at major junctions. The cameras installed at signal junctions will be capable of recording a vehicle’s registration number and registering violations like signal jumping and over-speeding, and also automatically generating challans.

Training the cops

Training is a major area of concern for the police as a substantial chunk of lower-rung personnel are considered wanting in the skills of communication and etiquettes. To groom about 40,000 policemen, the force has hired the services of private institutions. The training modules have been developed to hone their English-speaking ability, instil motivation and bring about attitudinal changes in the policemen to enhance their public dealing skills. The training programme is awaiting a fresh yearly financial sanction and is expected to be resumed within a fortnight.

A large number of volunteers will also be trained by the police for their deployment during the event.

When the grand show unfolds in 2010, the force will have an over 72,000-strong trained manpower resource armed with sophisticated weaponry and equipment at its disposal to ensure peaceful conduct of the Games.

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