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Force One enters crucial stage

Force One — the initiative of the Maharashtra Police to create a new first-response unit for handling any terror attacks,planned siege or hijack bids...

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai |
March 4, 2009 1:15:45 am

450 candidates shortlisted for preparatory training in Pune

Force One — the initiative of the Maharashtra Police to create a new first-response unit for handling any terror attacks,planned siege or hijack bids — has entered its second crucial stage with the selected personnel ready to undergo preparatory training.

The selection process was based on guidelines designed by the National Security Guard (NSG),and around 450 Mumbai police candidates for Force One,drawn from Pune,Nashik,Aurangadbad and Nagpur,have been shortlisted. The selections are for various levels,constables to inspectors. They include personnel of the State Reserve Police Force.

 The selection criteria included various physical tests including a 2.4-km run carrying complete gear and equipment weighing up to 10 kg,push-ups and other endurance exercises. The 450 candidates will now leave for Pune,where they will have to undergo a stringent three-week preparatory training,after which the final Force One unit will be shortlisted based on performance.

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 The state will merge the existing Quick Response Team with the units of Force One. Meanwhile,the state is still looking for a place to base the Force One units.

 The preparatory training will take place at SRPF unit in Pune and at the training grounds at Wadachi Wadi. Regular training,among many things,will focus on endurance,physical and tactical,with emphasis on firing and counter attack. The maximum age for entry to the unit 25 years for constabulary while it is 30 years for inspectors,with at least five years of service.  

The training module will rely heavily on security experts,retired army and NSG officials,and others having a commando background.  

  “We are waiting for many modalities to be worked out and for the decision to be taken on the place where Force One units will be based. At this stage,we are working on a team that will be able to tackle a crisis situation in the worst of pressure situations,” says S Jagannathan,additional commissioner in-charge of Force One.

NSG finds Marol suitable for hub
After scouting for land at Kalyan and Palghar,the NSG seems to have zeroed in on land closer to Mumbai for their proposed hub. Maharashtra Chief Secretary Johny Joseph said the NSG had selected around 60 acres of land at Marol,which was in possession of the police.

The state government is awaiting a formal letter from the Union Home Ministry asking for the land.

Land at Juhu aerodrome was also considered,but it was part of the airport land. The NSG wanted some land near the airport to facilitate any anti-hijacking operations and the Marol land is suitable as it is located nearby.

The Kalyan land,considered earlier,was in possession of the defence forces and was part of a war-time aerodrome.

Another chunk of around 450 acres at Palghar was ruled out as it was too far from the city. Senior state home department officials said though the NSG had initially sought around 1,100 acre in or near Mumbai,it was difficult to get such a contiguous stretch. The NSG could consider another hub near Mumbai after the hub at Marol is set up,he added.

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