GUWAHATI, March 6 � At a time when the �democratic agitations� by different organisations often turn violent, the Assam Police does not have adequate training or equipment to deal with such situations. Moreover, the security forces often act on their own because of lack of clear-cut directives to deal with such situations, which often lead to further deterioration in the situation.
An internal report of the Assam Police, which is in possession of The Assam Tribune, exposes the drawbacks of the police force in dealing with such situations and stresses the need for imparting adequate training to the police personnel to deal with problems of crowd control.
The report points out that very often the police station staff do not follow up and collect intelligence on the after-effects of an incident, which has the potential to grow into a riot situation. On gathering of a crowd, the police personnel either respond inadequately or do not respond at all. They wait for the senior officers to arrive and guide them despite having the legal mandate and forces at their disposal. The police station staff fail to provide leadership to the security forces when they reach the place of occurrence and the security forces are left to act on their own when the crowd turns into an attacking mob, the report says.
Very often, the police personnel are deployed for crowd control without adequate riot drill gear and when attacked, they respond by opening fire. The quick reaction teams are often used in crowd control whereas as per their standard operating procedure, they are trained only to conduct armed operations. The police battalion personnel do not have adequate riot drill gear.
Lack of adequate resources at the police station level is another major issue, which needs to be addressed. The report say that each police station should have at least three vehicles, two microphones, drivers and other manpower, sufficient riot drill equipment, recovery vans, dead body carrying van, cameras etc, to deal with such situations. Moreover, the police personnel are not familiar with crowd control gear. Interestingly, there is a tendency among some policemen to go into the crowd in a mob situation and when they themselves find themselves in a vulnerable situation, they have to open fire.