Need NSG-like equipment: cops

After Mumbai strike, Pune cops find bulletproof jackets, helmets to be of poor quality; Police Commissioner seeks better equipment

It took the Mumbai terror strike for Pune police to take an inventory of its equipment, only to find that much of it was of inferior quality.

Featuring high on the purchase list of Pune police now are better quality bulletproof jackets and helmets.

Clearly, visual images of ill-fitting helmets and skimpy bulletproof jackets worn by their counterparts in Mumbai in the first few hours of the Mumbai siege seems to have played some role in this decision.

"We need the same quality of equipment, as that of the National Security Guard (NSG) commandos. The police get the first exposure to a terror situation for long hours before the NSG lands, as happened in Mumbai," city police commissioner Satyapal Singh said here on Friday in an interaction with the media.

Singh expressed the need for a review of the quality of equipment used by the police during emergency situations.

"We were recommended a few equipment for tackling terror situations by 'so called experts.' Some samples of the recommended equipment were sent to a laboratory in Chandigarh for quality testing. Test reports indicate these samples failed the tests," the police commissioner said.

"Police cannot stay back till NSG commandos reach the action spot. If good quality protective equipment is provided, police can tackle these situations better. It would also reduce casualties on our side," he said.

Singh said this in response to questions from reporters as to how the state ATS chief Hemant Karkare had died during the anti-terror operation in Mumbai despite wearing a bulletproof jacket.

Singh also said that city police would soon seek help from security experts in the army to impart proper anti-terrorism training to the recently formed commando squad. "We need to check whether members of this squad actually possess the necessary skills to be commandos. Some retired police and army officers would also be training some of our police personnel in the handling of explosives," he said.

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