Saturday, September 25, 2010

Security Alert: 40% Police Staff on Games Duty

As the capital makes its last-ditch attempt to host the Commonwealth Games successfully, the Delhi Police too is leaving no stone unturned to secure the venues and delegates coming for the sporting event. But the heavy deployment of cops on Games duty will come at a price. With over 40% of the force from each police station to be diverted for CWG security, local policing is bound to take a hit.

According to sources, a majority of the police stations — especially those located near the venues in east, central and north Delhi — will be working with only one inspector instead of the usual three from October 3 to October 14. The Station House Officer, an inspector-rank official, has been spared of Games related duty while the other two inspectors handling investigations and anti-terrorism squad have been assigned security duty during the sporting event.

SHO and the ACP level officers have been also asked to arrange their own private vehicles for their regular movement during the Games. ‘‘We could not have trusted private drivers for Games duty. Hence, we have roped in our own drivers,’’ said a senior police officer. The officer added that even middle level officers with the Police Control Room have been asked to surrender their vehicles during this period.

From securing venues to verifying over a lakh workers to carrying out regular mock drills, cops have their task cut out and accordingly they have been asked to cancel their leave applications till the end of the Games. ‘‘Moreover, the Jama Masjid attack came as a rude shock. We have to be sure that the 470 points identified earlier as sensitive are fully secured,’’ said an officer from south district.

Senior officials at the police headquarters played down the fears. ‘‘We have 175 companies of paramilitary forces. The total number of security men is expected to be around 1.75 lakh. We are aware of securing such sensitive areas like markets and festive areas where Ramlila and Durga Puja will be celebrated. Hence, we have made adequate arrangements,’’ said an officer overseeing security at the IGI stadium.