After the November 26, 2008, terror attacks, Maharashtra felt the need for an elite security force that could tackle similar situations. Accordingly, it drew up a plan to create ‘Force One’ modelled on the National Security Guard.
Recognising that being a good commando was all about great physical and mental endurance, the state chose 257 policemen that seemed most likely to fit the bill.
But that plan has been thrown completely out of gear with the withdrawal of over 100 recruits because the programme, being conducted at the Goregaon reserve police training facility since March, is too tough.
Chief Minister Ashok Chavan said: “The (trainees)… must have found the rigorous training extremely difficult.” He said the state would select new candidates to plug the gap.
Senior police officials refused to comment.
A senior officer, who was with the Special Protection Group that secures VVIPs, said the average policeman who passes out of a training school cannot complete the Force One training, which involves many difficult modules.
“In our police academies, constables and officers are given only basic training needed to become good policemen. Force One demands much more from a trainee, who otherwise has a more comfortable job patrolling the streets.”
The Force One training initially emphasises physical and mental fitness. “It’s unlike the routine physical training drill at state academies,” the officer said.
The programme teaches policemen how to tackle long-drawn-out attacks. It teaches close-combat skills and effective use of modern weapons, explosives and communication gadgets.
The strict, army-like discipline may not be the average policeman’s cup of tea.