The city’s coastal police have decided to recruit 209 new personnel for the posts of engine driver and sarang (captain of the boat), as they face a shortage of staff to man the high-end speedboats. At present, drivers from the motor transport department of the Mumbai police were assisting the port police.
According to Qauisar Khalid, deputy commissioner of police (port zone), the state government has plans to provide 40 speedboats for patrolling off the city coast.
“As of now, we have 23 boats that are used for patrolling and other works,” said Khalid, adding that each boat will have four constables and an officer on board. To meet this requirement, the coastal police will have to hire more personnel.
“At present, there is a shortage of drivers and we had to ask fishermen to drive the speedboats as they were well versed with the sea routes,” he said. “We have got a nod for the recruitments and would be start the process soon.”
The Yellow Gate police station, which takes care of security on the eastern coast, has around 250 personnel. The state government is making all efforts to fill up the vacant posts for the western coast, which has a sanctioned staff of 222.
“The duty of policemen in the sea varies. They have to intercept suspicious ships, go in and check documents and people on the ship,” said Khalid, adding that after the recruitment, the personnel hired would have to be given extensive training.
“The new speedboats have advanced equipment and we need professional drivers to handle them. The engines of these boats are also modified to suit the coast of Mumbai, which is polluted with plastic and debris. Only trained men would be able to drive the boats,” added Khalid.
Also, the new boats that the state plans to provide will have the capacity to travel long distances.
“The new boats can travel up to 200 nautical miles at one go, which is close to around 900 km,” said Khalid.
The coastal police have different norms for selecting a sarang and engine drivers. “We will prefer to have a retired Navy or Coast Guard personnel as an engine driver,” said a police officer from the coastal police, who did not wish to be named, as he is not authorised to speak on the issue.
For the post of sarang, the police would ideally want someone who has an experience of working in the Navy and who is not less than a Class-II officer.