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Police not properly trained to handle risky situations

The killing of PSI Babasaheb in Mumbai throws light on flaws in police training, writes Debasish Panigrahi & Manish Pachouly.

india Updated: Oct 19, 2006 22:32 IST

Any police or army man will tell you that just being brave in the field is not enough. Bravery must go hand in hand with proper training and is to be backed with the latest weaponry.

 

The manner in which Police Sub Inspector Babasaheb was shot dead while confronting robbers at a bank at Airoli clearly underlines basic flaws in the training given to budding police officers.

 

Entering into what in police parlance is called as a “blind” situation, it was not as if Adhav was not brave enough but his training probably did not equip him to tackle this kind of a situation. The basic grind an officer-cadet undergoes is during his probation at the Maharashtra Police Academy, the Gurukul for fresh Maharashtra Police Service Commission (MPSC) recruits.

 

While officials of the academy strongly vouched for the training imparted at the academy, saying it definitely equipped officers to tackle various kinds of situations (from ambush to rescue), the ground realities show that these claims about training did not match real life situations.

 

A Police Sub Inspector (PSI), attached to a South Mumbai police station, spoke on condition of anonymity, claimed that probationary officers are given only the basic training in handling and use of firearms at the academy before being inducted into the force. “We know how to handle and fire pistols, revolvers and rifles only…30 rounds per year,” the officer stated.

 

Asked about special training to deal with terrorists, hostages or a situation like bank robbery, the officer added, “Those are meant for the Special Protection Group (SPG), SOS, Commandos or those deployed on protection duty. Ordinary officers at police station are not given that training.”

 

Superintendent of Police, MPA, Sanjay Banerjee told Hindustan Times that all the officers are given training in jungle camps and urban warfare besides just handling firearms. In urban warfare, officers are trained how to handle a hostage situation, break into a building and the precautions to be taken by an officer who is about to walk into an ambush. It also includes camouflage and concealment, vital for personal protection. This forms a part of the in-field craft.

 

Rakesh Maria, special inspector general of police, training, said that proper training is given to the policemen when they join the force. He said that in condition like the one occurred in Navi Mumbai, standard procedures are to be followed. “There is training given on search and seizure which deals with the procedures to be adopted while approaching a (dangerous) situation,” said Maria. This training, he said, is called Field craft and Tactics.

 

When asked, Maria accepted that the PSI should have worn a jacket while entering the bank. He also said that once it is known that something (dangerous) is happening, an officer should enter with a back up and a mobile van, which is equipped with arms and needed in such a situation.

 

manish.pachouly@hindustantimes.com