Security cover for more VIPs likely to be pruned

Punjab Police, which has the 'dubious distinction' of deploying a large number of its personnel on VIP security duty, still has nearly 5,600 of its men guarding VIPs. This despite the withdrawal of nearly 4,200 personnel from such duty.

As per sources, at least 5,600 police personnel at present have been deployed to provide security cover to some 1,900-odd VIPs. Of the total men on security duty, 1,900 are deployed to guard 740 private individuals.

After a recent Supreme Court directive to all the states in this regard, the Punjab Police pruned the security cover for 286 protectees and withdrew 192 personnel.

"The security cover provided to Z-Plus and Z Category protectees is under review now. There are six protectees in Z-plus category — Governor Shivraj Patil, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, Former chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh, Chairman of All India Anti Terrorist Front M S Bitta and chief of the Radha Soami sect Gurinder Singh Dhillon — some 16 individuals in Z Category," said an officer.

Earlier, last year, after Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who is also the home minister of the state, ordered pruning down of the security cover accorded to VVIPs, 4,000 police personnel were withdrawn.

The pruning exercise was carried out in phases and the gunmen assigned to senior police officers, politicians, civil officers, judicial officers and private individuals were withdrawn after examining the threat perception to them.

Sukhbir had earlier directed the state police to plug loopholes in the grant of security by multiple agencies — the district police, Punjab Armed Police and Commando. Now, it is the Security Wing that allocates the security based on the threat perception to an individual.

Recently, the Punjab Police and Delhi Police were at loggerheads after that Punjab Police assigned security cover to some candidates contesting the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Elections.

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