Admitting that Mumbai may be much safer today than in 2008, D Sivanandan, former Maharashtra director general of police (DGP), said the city was still not adequately prepared to deal with terror attacks and international help should be sought and information shared between global cities for adequate preparedness. Talking on making cities safer, other panelists at the BRICS Cities conclave underway in Mumbai also emphasised on the need for modernisation of law enforcement agencies.
“We need enormous amount of resources and we need to have advanced technology. Unfortunately, terror outfits are using more advanced technologies in carrying out attacks and the law enforcement agencies are trailing behind them. Also, we need to have the latest arms and ammunition as well as protective cover to face suicide attacks like 26/11,” said Sivanandan, adding that advanced intelligence and use of technology was a must for safety and security. He was talking at a session titled ‘Making our cities safe and secure’ on Friday.
He added that there was a need to involve the entire community in policing. “We must make them stakeholders and training should be given to them,” he said, adding that Standard Operating Procedures for law enforcement agencies should not simply be written and forgotten but also updated, every now and then. He also talked about the need for preparedness to protect cities from fire, floods and organised crime.
Mbanga Shitole, chief executive officer of South African Cities Network, representing South African Local Government Association, also emphasised on the importance of technology and people’s participation. “We need to be proactive not reactive when we deal with issues of safety. Safety is about modernisation of thoughts and involvement of people. Use of technology is important for safety and security of a nation,” he said.
Tovar Da Silva Nunes, the Brazilian Ambassador to India, said that Brazil faced violence in urban areas due to poverty and this was an unique challenge in maintaining Brazilian cities’ security.
Responding to a question from the audience, Sivanandan conceded that children were getting disturbed due to information available on the internet. “Much of radicalisation is happening through the internet. We expect the government to come up with a de-radicalisation programme. But, it can’t be implemented by law enforcement agencies alone. It must be done by elders in our society,” he added.
Praveen Dixit, Maharashtra DGP, said safety was crucial for the progress of the city. “We shall overcome the challenges and continue to make the city safer,” Dixit said.