Who all can use beacons? Traffic cops to get list


Alarmed by the security risk posed by scores of vehicles sporting amber or red beacons without necessary clearance, traffic police constables posted across the city have now been directed to either familiarise themselves with, or carry around with them, a list of dignitaries who are authorised to travel in such vehicles.

The traffic police have been warned in the past that unauthorised vehicles with beacons pose a serious security threat. The latest move is the outcome of a scare that was sparked off on November 13, when a suspicious-looking Volkswagen Vento with an amber beacon was found roaming through parts of the city. The vehicle was spotted by a high-ranking police officer, who relayed the information to the main police control room.

When the vehicle was finally intercepted, it was found to belong to a Deputy Superintendent of State Excise who was not authorised to use a beacon. "The official was not entitled to use a beacon on the vehicle. It has been noticed that traffic constables are usually intimidated on seeing vehicles beacons on them, and owing to their ignorance about which officials are authorised to travel in such vehicles, they do not even stop them for checks. This is a serious security hazard, as terrorists or other criminal elements may attempt to infiltrate restricted areas in such vehicles, like in the case of the 2001 Parliament attack," said a top Mumbai Police officer, who did not wish to be named. "The traffic constables have now been instructed to familiarise themselves with the list of Central and state ministers, judges, magistrates, lawyers, and government officials who are authorised to travel in vehicles sporting red or amber beacons. If necessary, they have been asked to carry around the list with them for ready reference," said the officer.

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