Eleven months after a post was created for unified command and control of all Quick Response Teams (QRTs) in the city,the Mumbai Police is still making do with stop-gap arrangements for the key policing post. The QRTs are meant to be an integral part of the polices first response to terror attacks.
A post of Deputy Commissioner of Police (QRT) was sanctioned by the state government in June last year,but has already seen three officers manage it on a temporary basis in addition to their regular briefs. A dedicated office for the post is also yet to be created. Despite having such makeshift arrangements for the crucial post,the Mumbai Police are now planning to deploy anti-terror units called Response Ten at all police stations,which will report to the DCP QRTs post.
State Home Department officials said the post of DCP QRT was created on June 15 last year. However,till date,neither has a dedicated office been allotted for the post nor an officer assumed dedicated charge of the post.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Branch) Sandeep Karnik now holds additional charge of the post. Before him,M U Dalvi,who was posted as DCP Operations,was holding additional charge of the QRT. Shortly after the post was created,DCP (Training) H K Waraich was given additional charge of the QRT.
There are a large number of vacancies and we are having to do our best with whatever resources are available, Mumbai Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik said.
Sources in the Mumbai Police revealed that there are plans to have Response Ten units crack-teams comprising three-four commandos armed with bullet-proof vests and assault rifles – at each police station in the city,who will be the first responders while engaging terrorists. These units will be culled out of the existing QRT manpower and will be under the command of the DCP QRT.
During the 26/11 attack,the first men who had to face the terrorists were from the local police stations. However,they suffered as they were not properly armed and were not trained to engage terrorists. The idea is to have teams of three fully armed and trained commandos from the three closest police stations converging at a spot within a few minutes of a crisis situation developing, said a senior Mumbai Police officer,who did not wish to be named.
These commandos will engage terrorists and hold them at bay till reinforcements in the form of the Force One or National Security Guard commandos arrive. The Response Ten units should be ready in a month or two, said the officer.
Around 600 commandos from the QRTs present sanctioned strength of 1,455 men will be deployed in the Response Ten units. The police are procuring 60 Toyota Innova cars for these teams in the initial phase.