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A joint venture for safety

india Updated: Jan 17, 2009 15:39 IST

Bombay first, a private-public plan to combat terrorism, has been initiated to propose a security system on lines that the US incorporated after the 9/11 attack on the twin towers and the UK after the 7/7 London bombings.

This is an initiative that has been triggered because of the public outcry Mumbai has seen after the recent terror attacks.

A team of security experts from the US, UK and India, who participated in the deliberation at Hotel Trident on Monday, suggested methods but stressed on the need to incorporate civil society to formulate an effective security system.

David M Olive, a top homeland security expert from Washington, said: “Each citizen should stand up and say I am responsible.” Quoting an example of suspicious baggage, he added: “When you see something, you say something [report to the police]. And this stand needs to be propagated outside. Else, there is no solution to the security concerns and the possibility of another attack cannot be ruled out.”

Brett Lovegrove, former head of Counter-terrorism, city of London police, stressed on the importance setting up a review team, better communication mediums and sustained partnership between public-private enterprises.

“After any disaster — manmade or natural — it is important to set up a comprehensive review team comprising the polity, the bureaucracy and law-making authorities to investigate on what helped and what did. This is the first step towards any probe.”

He also pointed out the need of having a sophisticated communication system in place comprising radio and satellite communication devices. “During the 7/7 attacks, we made the common people get involved in our rescue operations. We asked them to update the police with any kind of information and vice-versa. The civilians should never be kept in dark.”

S. Ramadorai, chief executive officer and managing director of Tata Consultancy Services, said: “Time has come when we take our security protocols to a different level. Like the US and UK, India needs to choke finances of these terrorist organisations and implement a zero tolerance policy against terrorists.”

Taking a dig at the Mumbai police, former Mumbai police commissioner Julio Ribeiro said: “Even a constable in Mumbai is politicised, and so is the entire system. This problem has to be weeded out first. ”

Claiming that politicians will not only face flak but also have the danger of losing their seat, Deputy Mayor of London Richard Barnes said they should make themselves visible no matter how high the danger. “Politicians are answerable to the people, not just their careers.”