Death of a sub-inspector during an encounter with criminals on April 25 has raised questions over the tactical training imparted to the state police. Akhtar Khan, who was leading a team of 12 personnel, was shot dead from a very close range at Nai Abadi area of Dadri.
The police team did not follow any tactics used in room intervention, neither had they worn bullet proof jackets. They were simply not prepared for a gunfight.
Three policement have been shot dead in the line of duty over the last two years. Two of these were on witness protection duty. Constable Bhudev Sharma was shot dead during the murder of Dadupur village’s headman, Harender Pradhan, in 2015. Another constable, Nitin Verma, was shot dead a few months later during the killing of a retired engineer Rajkumar Sharma, who he was assigned to protect.
Experts say that the UP police require a modern training regimen to deal with criminals who do not hesitate to shoot at police.
“Khan was in uniform. There was no chance the suspects would have thought him as a rival. Criminals who have the courage to shoot a man in uniform must either have political backing or no faith in the criminal justice system. The police force needs modern training to handle such situations,” Prakash Singh, former director general of police, Uttar Pradesh, said.
He says reforms are required in policing, including better interaction among seniors and junior officers.
Experts who have trained army personnel, commandos, paramilitary and other forces say there are many modern techniques to handle law and order situations but personnel must first learn techniques of room intervention -- open and close.
“Room intervention is an advanced technique being taught to the state police personnel. The policemen should learn this to avoid being hit by bullets and also neutralise armed suspects. After training, they should follow the standard operational procedure (SOP) in every case,” Vikram Kapoor, founder of Krav Maga police and military in India, said.
At present, the city police personnel are equipped with over 150 modern firearms that are used in counter terrorism operations, like the INSAS and AK-47 rifles. However, these guns can hurt the public if used for combat in urban areas. The police lack weapons like MP-5 and shotgun that are more useful in close quarter encounters.
Also, the city police has merely 50 bulletproof jackets and most of these are given to counter terrorism units, leaving hardly any body armour for the police.
“We are in the process of equipping our personnel with body armour and modern weapons,” Kiran Sivakumar, senior superintendent of police (SSP) of Gautam Budh Nagar, said.
Political postings are also taking a toll on policing in the twin cities. As it is the most developed locality in Uttar Pradesh, officers close to the ruling party often demand posting here.
At present, a majority of senior posts from station in-charge and above are given to the officers considered close to the ruling party. There are examples when an officer was re-transferred within hours as the officer who was to be replaced had excellent links with the government.
“The Supreme Court recently stated that neither the chief minister nor the opposition is serious about better policing. None of the CMs want an independent police force. The police are a unified compact force to handle cases of snatching as well as terror attacks. Better policing lies in depoliticisation of the force. Once they stop serving the ruling party, they can focus on their real job,” Vikram Singh, former DGP of UP, said.