Mumbai cops to saddle up for crowd control

You may soon see mounted police handling crowds at protest marches or festivals as the Mumbai Police commissionerate’s proposal to have a 30-horse contingent has been approved by the home and finance department. It is expected to get the cabinet nod soon. The home department expects the contingent of horses to be a part of the force in the next three months.

The police expect the contingent will be of great help for crowd control and confidence-building at public places. “Their mobile mass and height advantage will help control crowd where the police personnel on foot cannot reach during protest marches and morchas. It will prove helpful to disperse crowd without using force. It will provide better visibility too” said an official from the home department.

The proposal comes along the lines of the mounted division of police in cities such as Chennai, Mysore, Kolkata, Moscow and New York. According to the proposal, a batch of 38 police personnel, from the ranks of sub inspectors, assistant inspectors and head constables from the armed forces will be trained. The Mumbai police commissionerate will appoint an agency for the maintenance and upkeep of the horses and tie up with the government veterinary hospital at Parel for their treatment.

The move will cost the Mumbai Police around ₹1.75 crore, including ₹1 crore which will be to purchase the 30 horses. The horses will be housed at the police training centres in Kole Kalyan, Kalina. They will be deployed in the parts of the city as and when required.

Santosh Rastorgi, joint commissioner (Administration), Mumbai, said, “We have submitted the proposal and are awaiting the government approval. Once we get the nod, we will try to operationalise it as soon as possible.”

However, a section of the home department is apprehensive about the utility of mounted police in a city like Mumbai due to its population density of and traffic snarls. “Every new step has its teething problems which need to be addressed. Likewise, we will overcome them once the move is implemented,” an official privy to the project said.

First Published:
Feb 22, 2019 12:24 IST

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