Cops want dog squads in all 12 zones of city

MUMBAI: Following the recent 26/11 terror attack and a series of bomb hoax calls, the police have written to the state government asking for bomb
and sniffer dog squads in all the 12 zones in the city.

On June 23, home minister Jayant Patil had emphasised that there was a need for a squad with around 100 sniffer dogs in the city. Patil had also said the state government will provide all equipment to the police for citizens' safety.

Last week, the city police sent a proposal in this connection to the home department stating that there was a need for 12 more dog squads in all 12 zones in the city. "As per the proposal, each dog squad will comprise three dogs,'' said a home department source.

Currently, the city police has two dog squads__one near the police commissionerate in south Mumbai while the other is stationed at Goregaon. The south Mumbai squad has seven dogs while the Goregaon one has three dogs. "The dogs worked relentlessly during and after the 26/11 terror attacks in which 10 Pak-based terrorists entered Mumbai and killed 164 people,'' said a bomb detection and disposal squad (BDDS) official. A day after the attack, the dog squad had found an 8-kg RDX bomb behind the Taj Mahal Hotel which was later defused.

Justifying the decision to have a dog squad in each zone, a home department official said, "The dogs get tired due to travelling and their power to identify explosives and bombs is also affected by it. So, the police now want to keep them in all the zones.''

After the deadly terror attacks in the city, fingers were raised on the non-availability of sophisticated weapons and bullet-proof vehicles for the city police. Following criticism, the state government on June 23 handed over keys of over 200 vehicles to the city police. It included three armoured vehicles, as part of the modernisation of the force. The armoured vehicles cost about Rs 38 lakh each and can shield bullets fired from an advanced AK-47 assault rifle. The other new vehicles include four buses, 20 jeeps, 21 towing cranes, nine lightweight vehicles and 160 motorcycles for patrolling. The total cost of procuring the vehicles is around Rs 4 crore.

Moreover, on August 27, 39 combat mobile vans, 36 Rakshak vans, 10 bullet- proof vans, 1,000 AK-47s, 17 Bolero jeeps, three special mini-buses and six bullet-proof jeeps were handed over to the city police. Moreover, formation of 20 Quick Response Team (QRT) for al the zones were also announced. Similarly, On August 12, the Mahindra Defence System (MDS) handed over an armoured capsule-based light bullet-proof vehicle to the city police to combat terror-like situations. Nine more such vehicles will be given to the city police soon, said a senior police officer.

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