Punjab Police will no more give officers a battery of gun-toting cops as “residential guards” to flaunt. More than 7,000 cops are deployed legally or otherwise as personal security of senior officers, politicians, and private individuals, each constable costing the exchequer about Rs. 50,000 a month.
Beginning in-house reforms from the top, Punjab director general of police (DGP) Sumedh Singh Saini, who has been high on the target list of terrorists and given Z-plus-category security, has removed own “residential guards” of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) by own order issued on Thursday.
Top sources in the police say the residential guards of all additional director generals of police (ADGP) posted in Chandigarh are withdrawn with immediate effect, in spite of reservations of the security wing. The residential guards of lower-rung officers posted in Chandigarh have also been withdrawn.
DGP Saini confirmed having issued the order. The concept of “area protection” in liaison with the UT Police will replace the system. “In no way will it compromise with the officers’ security,” said a top police officer.
The residential guards on the property of retired Punjab-cadre bureaucrats such as DS Bains, who superannuated few months ago from the post of principal secretary (home affairs and justice), and at the house of Punjab chief electoral officer (CEO) VK Singh also have been pulled out, say sources in the police.
Residential guards are being removed from the already protected premises such as Punjab Armed Police (PAP) Complex. Cops will secure the wider area where the officers live. The move is part of a full-scale security review.
In 2012 also, the government had pulled out nearly 2,000 personnel from the security of many VIPs in the state but the latter managed to get the cover back on one pretext or the other. Recently, deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal had started full-scale security review based on revised threat perception.