Shalini Sharma can pass off as any other 40-year-old woman in a salwar kameez. But the ever-smiling Sharma — Inspector Sharma — is Mumbai's first trained hostage negotiator.
Sharma, Mumbai Police's liaison officer with the Interpol, was picked for training in Hostage Negotiation and Crisis Management in London. She returned last week after a two-month course at New Scotland Yard and is eager to take up her new assignment.
"It was a fruitful experience and I got to learn a lot," Sharma said, adding that she now plans to train fellow officers. "We hope to create a team with skills to deals with hostage situations."
Sharma’s training was not just meant for negotiating in terror situations but also in cases of domestic violence and attempted suicides. "The training is based on the principle of saving a life," she said.
The decision to train a police officer in hostage negotiation was taken after a meeting between some members of Rotary Club, state Director General of Police AN Roy and Police Commissioner D Shivanandan.
Sharma was chosen from among 12 officers by a panel headed by Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Himanshu Roy. "We choose her as she showed immense initiative, professionalism and enthusiasm," said Roy.
Speaking of her training, Sharma said: "We bargain in our day to day life too. But this course hones that skill so that it can be used in a mind game."