Yard Gearing Up…
By Maxwell Pereira
have said it before, and I will say it again! You may hit your
head against the wall a hundred times convincing the mandarins
in the Ministry the need for additional hands for the police,
you may send up dozens of proposals to be discussed, dissected,
mutilated by Babus who know nothing about policing or the field
conditions and reality needs, nothing happens. These proposals
get sent back repeatedly to be re-sent again in the crazy formats
worked out by the Ministry know-alls, and then again shot down
by decision makers in the Finance – with notings to submit
again if and when the Government lifts the ban on fresh recruitment!
You will never get an additional soul.
come a bomb blast, overnight the very ‘babu’s are
made to bend over backwards by the powers that be to sanction
new police stations, additional manpower, vehicles and equipment.
If one were to scan through the last five decades of ma-power
structure in Delhi police and the stages of new creation and sanction
of posts, what I have stated will be amply borne out.
sees that things in England are no different. The recent Al Qaeda
attributed bomb blasts in the London Metro and a bus on 7 July
and some more attempted two weeks later, have shaken the British
law and order machinery out of its complacency to face reality
and measure up to actual ground conditions and field realities.
Scotland Yard is to create a Counter-Terrorist Command of 2000
specialist officers to fight the threat posed by Al Qaeda and
similar groups. Apparently this is to be created by merging the
existing Anti-Terrorist Branch and the Special Branch and augmenting
this strength with an additional 500 officers.
Special Branch in Scotland Yard in itself was a creation of March
1883 to fight the Fenian bombing campaign. Established more than
120 years ago to combat militant Irish Republicanism, it was originally
titled the Metropolitan Police Special Irish Branch. Officially
titled SO12, its current mandate is to gather, collate, analyse
and exploit intelligence on extremist political and terrorist
our own Intelligence Bureau in India, the Special Branch in the
UK has a national structure with units of police forces around
the country. It was a branch of the SB that guarded Salman Rushdie
for years after the Khomeini fatwa on his life. But unlike in
India where there are crazily large Security Units within every
State Police forces and a plethora of them at the Centre’s
command, the SB in England also provides protection for senior
government figures and recently also to be merged with the unit
that protects the Royal Family and Diplomats. In addition, the
Branch also polices ports and airports, for all of which we in
India have opened up separate and vast establishments considering
the size of our requirements.
to the plan announced in London last week, the merger of the existing
units and creation of the new Counter-Terrorist Command is part
of a three-year plan to transform London policing. Though an exercise
along these lines was already afoot since February this year,
a need to review the anti-terrorist provisions has been felt after
the July bombings. This, in the wake of an urgent realisation
that the existing manpower and resources with the anti-terrorist
arm are inadequate to meet the needs of investigation and follow-up
presented by situations of the likes of the recent bombings.
police spokesman was quoted in the London papers as telling media
that the July 7 bombings made the police review the numbers and
the capacity of their resources in the face of investigating 52
murders, conducting a manhunt, trying to prevent another attack,
searching for possible associates and working at a pace never
known or seen before. “In addition, there were multiple
sites, multiple locations, and a footprint that was around the
the investigative and intelligence arms of the police counter-terrorist
effort will come under one command and will continue to work closely
with MI5, and the new unit will have responsibility for terrorist
change announced, is in the pattern of patrolling – constables
henceforth would patrol alone rather than in pairs, making beat
officers more accessible to the public. Focus groups are said
to have observed that the public can be deterred from approaching
officers in pairs, especially when they are seemingly engrossed
in conversation. However to ensure officers’ safety, they
will patrol within sight of each other, perhaps on opposite sides
of the street.
other steps envisaged, the introduction of neighbourhood police
teams will be speeded up with each of the 624 council wards in
London given its own team of three officers and three community
support officers. Officers and support staff will move into more
modern buildings, possibly in industrial estates with custody
centres (a better name than our ‘jails’ and ‘lock-ups’).
A high street presence would be maintained in shop-fronts, colleges
and other public buildings.
support roles are envisaged to be ‘civilianised’ with
the introduction of detention staff and other roles to free officers
for policing tasks. All this, “…in an effort to move
police personnel presently in support services to front-line services.
A package envisioned to deliver safer neighbourhoods to every
one in London, that takes people out of their offices and puts
them on the streets, that asks officers to walk as much as possible
themselves so they are accessible to the public – as part
of all modernisation of the Metropolitan Police.”
words: 12.09.2005: Copy Right © Maxwell Pereira: 3725 Sec-23,
Gurgaon-122002. You can interact with the author at http://
www.maxwellperira.com and email@example.com
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