The Mumbai police have embarked upon a programme to expand their expertise in hostage negotiations beyond the present set-up.
Currently, they have a team of 16 experts to deal with emergencies anywhere in the city.
Under the new plan, officers from police stations in the five police regions across the city are going to be trained in negotiation skills in order to save time while responding to a crisis.
Along with officers from police stations, select officials deployed on VIP or VVIP security assignments will also be trained in hostage negotiations, as per the new programme.
A refresher course has been planned every six months for those who will undergo training in hostage negotiations and crisis management.
Apart from handling a hostage situation, the officials will also be in a position to handle situations like preventing suicides.
Also, police officers posted at critical centres like the chief minister’s office have also been trained to negotiate in a crisis.
Officials say one of the main reasons for expanding the base of experts and giving refresher courses to officials posted at key locations was to improve the response time.
“In critical situations, time should not be lost in the initial hours. So, while initially only police inspectors were on the team of negotiators, we have now included and are training assistant police inspectors as well so that they can come in handy in the absence of seniors,” said a senior police officer requesting anonymity. He said the last such refresher course was held in November last year for APIs.
“A refresher course for the team, comprising old officers and freshers will be held this month, where apart from the core team, other officers will also participate,” said Madhukar Pandey, additional commissioner of police (Special Protection Unit).