Police dogs add teeth to Commonwealth Games security (Commonwealth Games Countdown)

July 26th, 2010 - 5:37 pm ICT by IANS  

By Praveen Kumar
(Attn Editors: This is the 11th of the 100-day countdown series for the 19th Commonwealth Games in New Delhi. The piece is about Delhi Police ramping up their dog squad for the Games by adding 75 canines.)

New Delhi, July 26 (IANS) These dogs will definitely add teeth to the Commonwealth Games security! They will sniff out explosives, do anti-sabotage duties and vehicle checks and help sanitise the Games village, stadiums, hotels and parking lots. Seventy-five more canines have been added to the dog squad of the capital’s police to provide fool-proof security during the October 3-14 sporting extravaganza.

With this, the number of dogs with Delhi Police has gone up to 123.

“The dogs are being trained to provide security at all the Games venues, city markets, parking areas and VVIP routes,” Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat told IANS.

He added that 60 dogs have so far completed their training and the rest will be trained in the next two-three weeks.

The dogs, which include German Shepherds, Labradors and Dobermans, have been undergoing training at the paramilitary Border Security Force (BSF) academies in Tekanpur in Madhya Pradesh and Hoshiarpur in Punjab.

The canines will be micro-chipped and their entire data stored in a computer.

The 48-odd dogs with Delhi Police were not enough for a city with a population of 17 million as most of these were deployed on VVIP routes.

Currently, the dogs after completing training have been placed at a temporary shelter in Shahdara.

The dogs, according to Bhagat, cost Rs.10,000-25,000 each.

“We have managed to get seven well-trained dogs from the Indian Army’s veterinary corps, costing Rs.1.5 lakh-1.75 lakh,” he said.

Bhagat said each district will have a dog squad.

The dogs began training in July 2009 and are likely to be deployed by September.

Bhagat said no priority to any of the venues or routes had been given . “The dog squad is there to provide security to the people at each and every corner of the city,” he said.

The major games venues include the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the Indira Gandhi Stadium, the S.P. Mukherjee Swimming Complex, the Yamuna Sports Complex, the National Stadium, the Thyagaraj Stadium and the Delhi University Sports Complex, besides the Games Village.

The ramped up dog squad will also ease the pressure on the existing “overworked” squad which attended to 12,429 calls last year, including 709 tracking calls and 11,009 explosives calls. It also performed anti-sabotage checks during several VVIP functions and visits.

However, the future of the dogs after the Games is not clear as the construction of permanent kennels in Saket is in a limbo.

According to police, the home affairs ministry has sanctioned a piece of land at Saket for the kennels but the documentation and other formalities have not been completed.

Police had made temporary arrangements at Shahdara for the dog squad as it will take at least a year to complete the new structure.

(Praveen Kumar can be contacted at praveen.k@ians.in)

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