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Tight security across Capital

Given the high level of threat perception during the Commonwealth Games, a range of security measures has been taken at the micro-level across the Capital to prevent any untoward incident. Long before implementation of the security plan, threat assessments were carried out to identify installations and locations that required extra attention.

While all the Games-related venues have been fortified and a strict access control mechanism has been put in place, the police have been told to give equal importance to citywide security. At a recent meeting with senior police officers, Union Home Secretary G. K. Pillai directed them to take measures to ensure safety across the Capital. “Over emphasis on Games-centric security might provide an opportunity to disruptive elements to strike elsewhere in the city,” said a police officer, conceding that the recent attack on Taiwanese nationals outside the historic Jama Masjid in the Walled City had created some security concerns for nations participating in the international sporting event. In fact, the matter was also taken up by them at security review meetings.

According to the police, several corrective measures have been taken since to prevent any such incident in future. A micro-level strategy for policing has been drawn, taking into consideration the level of vulnerability. A combination of policing components comprising quick reaction teams at strategic locations, mobile patrol squads, surveillance through men in plainclothes and picketing has been put into operation in all the districts. “Adequate arrangement for additional reinforcement for any emergency situation has been made,” said another police officer.

However, despite all these measures, cases like the one in which a 42-year-old woman was targeted by two motorcycle-borne criminals at Safdarjung Enclave earlier this week create a genuine cause of concern among the general public.

The victim was on her way home from work in the evening when the assailants struck. She was hit in the face and head with the butt of a firearm. Though one of the criminals was caught by her with the help of some passers-by, such incidents of street crime are equally damaging as they create an atmosphere of fear.

Incidentally, assailants carrying firearms used motorcycles as a getaway in both the Jama Masjid and the Safdarjung Enclave incidents. In the previous case, they easily managed to escape through the narrow lanes of the Walled City.

It is a well known fact that in roadside crimes, perpetrators mostly use motorcycles as they are easy to manoeuvre. Hence, the police may consider random verification of motorcyclists, particularly those accompanied by pillion riders.

While there is a large presence of heavily armed policemen and a large fleet of police vehicles stationed all across the city, the need of the hour is to concentrate on the basics of policing with respect to regular and surprise picketing and profiling of suspects to ensure that criminal elements do not have a free run.

Devesh K. Pandey

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