The city coast is likely to be left vulnerable for the entire duration of the monsoon, in what exposes glaring gaps in measures taken by the police to improve coastal security post the 26/11 terror attacks.
The Mumbai police will not be able to patrol the 114-km coastline during the rains because their boats are not capable of entering deep waters. The force is also not sufficiently trained to navigate choppy seas. Till September-end, vigilance will be limited to around the shores.
This, despite the crore spent by the police force to strengthen coastal security after the 26/11 attacks. The force had gone into a major acquisition drive, purchased 27 new boats, recruited personnel and announced plans for a training academy.
Sources in the police said the one-month training the Mumbai police officials posted with the Yellow Gate and the Mumbai Sagari police stations receive from the Indian Coast Guard is not sufficient for them to adapt to sea conditions. "The training is a mere formality, the time span is limited. Also, we can't make the most of it as we are ill-equipped," said an officer of the Yellow Gate police station.
Boats available to the police are too small for deep-water incursion. Officials further said that at any point of time, seven to eight boats are under repair.
"The patrol boats have the capacity to carry 10 policemen. Being small, they are not suitable for patrolling even for the remaining part of the year," said an officer with a coastal police station, requesting anonymity.
However, the Mumbai police claimed that measures have been taken to increase vigilance at sea during this period. "The Coast Guard step up vigilance by increasing chopper sorties and continuous patrolling. In case of any suspicious activity, they intercept suspects and hand them to us. The coastal policemen are posted at all landing points and jetties in the city," said Tanaji Ghadge, deputy commissioner of police (Port Zone).