Almost a year after the RD Pradhan Committee — appointed by the state to identify lapses in the police response to the 26/11 terrorist attacks — recommended the relocation of the main police control room at the commissionerate at Crawford market, efforts to implement the recommendations are reportedly on the fast track.
However, the new control room will move to a swank, more spacious location at traffic police headquarters on Sir Pochkhanwala Marg at Worli.
Mumbai police commissioner, D. Sivanandhan told Hindustan Times on Friday that the new control room will measure 5,000 sq ft, and be more staff-friendly than the existing one. “Due to the space crunch, the current control room [measuring 2,200 sq ft] lacks a proper working environment. The new control room will have features like showers and a changing room, which are the basic requirements for a workplace that is open 24 x 7,” he said.
The main control room, which is headed by an officer of the rank of assistant commissioner of police, is the Mumbai Police’s nerve centre for assimilation and dissemination of information.
For every 100 (or 103, or the three alert numbers) call dialled from anywhere in the city, this control room gets a flash on its maze of plasma screens, with feedback following within seconds. In terms of sophistication and response, it compares with some of the best such facilities in the world, especially given its satellite communication infrastructure. More than 120 officers and constables work in three shifts around the clock.
The relocation, said Joint Commissioner of Police, Law and Order, Rajnish Seth, will take at least six months to complete. Sources said the commissioner has already had a crucial meeting with service providers for software and digital networks.
“Relocating in a phased manner is not an option since that will mean temporarily suspending some control room functions, which we can’t afford. We need an entirely new set-up that can be activated as soon as we shut down the existing one,” a control room source said.
Historian Deepak Rao said that the main control room is considered the eyes and ears of the police top brass. “If moved to Worli, it will have a fall out on the functioning of the top brass, including the commissioner,” Rao said.
Seth said, to address that issue, a parallel, albeit smaller, control room will remain at the commissioner’s office.