Police wireless is by far the quickest, safest and most reliable mode of communication. When mobile phones are inaccessible deep inside the forests or there is an emergency due to a natural disaster or in an accident in a far-flung area out of the mobile network, wireless communication is the only answer.
But in Bihar, the department of wireless communication has been left to die a natural death, or so it seems.
At a time when there is so much talk of police modernisation, the number of wireless operators has shrunk to less than one third of the decadesold sanctioned strength.
This is so when the police captains, especially those working in the extremist-infested areas, vouch for its indispensability. “Since 1988, there has been no recruitment in the police wireless. The sanctioned strength has dropped from 2534 to 850,” said Arvind Sinha of the wireless operators’ body.
Though it is mandatory for all police stations to have at least two mobile operators, nearly 90% of the 800 police stations have vacancies, said Rajiv Sinha of the operators’ body. “In a place like Patna, where there is frequent VVIP movement, it is all the more necessary. But gadgets have been left to mostly untrained homeguard jawans or munshis of the police station” he added.
An SP-rank officer posted in the extremist area, said that there have been many instances when mobile network has completely failed deep inside the forests. “Under such situations, wireless is the only option. During VVIP movement, as it happened during the visit of union minister Jairam Ramesh, messages sent through high frequency (HF) and very high frequency (VHF) bands are the safest option. Even if they are trapped, they cannot be coded,” he added.
Another SP said, there was no way that mobile technology could replace police wireless. It is police’s own system, which cannot be easily intercepted. With extremists also acquiring sophisticated technology, it is irreplaceable. Through it, officers can also keep track of SHOs posted in police stations,” he added.
A senior officer of the police headquarters said, a move was afoot for recruitment of 952 literate constable operator. “But with technology changing so much, there is need to have well trained wireless operators. The modern Maoists are suave, English-peaking and tech-savvy, and communicate using high frequency wireless networks,” he added.