Thirty days from now, the Delhi Police will be on their biggest ‘mission’ — they will be the first line of defence against terrorists, Maoists and any other threat to the Commonwealth Games.
Can they pull it off? Yes, as long as they don’t have to fire their service weapons. With 89 per cent of officers not having got any target practice in 2009, we can safely assume their firing skills are rusty at best.
According to Delhi Police records, a majority of senior officers haven’t been to the shooting range in years (See graphic) with attendance consistently falling in the last five years.
A police officer must fire a mandatory 30 practice rounds a year. An average officer takes four minutes to fire these 30 rounds. But as the city prepares for its showcase event, which demands foolproof security, none of the brass has spared even four minutes to go to the shooting range this year.
Officers blame this laxity in duty on lack of enforcement. “It’s a question of enforcing the rule. Officers claim they don’t get time. They take it for granted they will be able to shoot when required but what they forget is practice is necessary,” said Ajai Raj Sharma, former Delhi Police commissioner.
Compared to Delhi, the shooting regimen for global police forces is exacting. Even Uttar Pradesh has more stringent rules: every senior officer must fire a minimum 50 practice rounds a year and constant checks are done to enforce this rule.