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Nov 13, 2019-Wednesday



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Wednesday, Nov 13, 2019

After Saudi drone attack, Delhi Police, CISF told to follow SOP on shooting down drones

cities Updated: Oct 18, 2019 21:32 IST
Anvit Srivastava
Anvit Srivastava

New Delhi: After an oil refinery in Saudi Arabia was attacked using drones last week, the ministry of home affairs (MHA) has written to the Delhi Police and the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) ordering them to shoot at sight any “threat possessing” drone or unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) within the airport perimeter, as per the standard operating protocol (SOP).

All police district chiefs have also been issued similar instructions to follow the SOP in securing important installations and government buildings in the capital.

The order, a copy of which is with HT, reads, “In view of emerging threats from drones, besides gearing up intelligence and surveillance mechanism, it is requested to immediately take effective security and preventive measures.”

It says that security agencies must act against any suspicious drone or UAV as per the MHA’s SOP. A senior Delhi Police officer, privy to the order, said the SOP says that in case a drone is spotted, the air force must be alerted without delay.

“Our men need to take a call on the spot whether the drone is dangerous or life threatening. If there is a situation in which there is no time for communication, we are authorised to shoot down the drone. In places like airports and other sensitive installations, we have the authority to shoot the drone and neutralise it, keeping in mind safety of civilians and the installation,” the officer, who did not want to be named, said.

Deputy commissioner of police MS Randhawa said he receives security inputs from time to time. Security of all important buildings in Delhi and sensitive locations such as the Indira Gandhi International Airport has been reviewed and all necessary measures are in place to handle any crisis, he said.

A senior officer from the CISF said usually, smaller drones are not by the radar. “They are low-flying drones. There have been drone sightings at the Delhi airport earlier, too, but we could never track down any of them as they were never captured by the radars. If a drone is about to collide with an aircraft or is spotted approaching any operational runway, our men have been authorised to shoot it down,” the officer, also requesting anonymity, said.

Hemendra Singh, assistant inspector general, CISF, said, “We are aware of the threat. As and when required, action will be taken as directed by the SOP.”

Meanwhile, Delhi Police officers said in view of the festival season — Diwali will b celebrated on October 27 — they have increased security across the city and have also asked police officers to remain on alert.