PM’s security breach: Punjab cops stare at action under SPG Act
New Delhi, Jan 08: The Punjab Police could face action under the Special Protection Group Act, following the security breach that took place in the state during the visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Centre and the Punjab government have ordered probes into the incident in which the PM was stranded on the road for 20 minutes during a protest. Going by the initial probe, it became clear that the Punjab government failed to follow the SPG Act which sets the protocols during a visit by the PM.
The provision Assistance to Group says that it is the duty of every Ministry and Department of both the Central and State Government or the administration of a Union Territory, every Indian Mission, every local or other authority or every civil or military authority to act in aid of the Director of any member of the Group whenever called upon to do so in furtherance of the duties and responsibilities assigned to such Director or member.
While the state of Punjab chose to play down the incident, the fact is that there was a major security lapse and the rules laid down in the Blue Book were not followed. Chapter XXVI of the Security arrangements for very important personages/protected persons lays down specific tasks that the police force of a state has to carry out.
It lays down the protocols to be followed during a VVIP visit to a state. When dealing with the "Journey by Road," the rules say that pilots and escort should be provided according to scale. The security box consisting of pilot car. VVIP car of escorts I & II of spare car should preferably be of the same make and colour. Wherever required (as per scale) the main and the spare car should be bullet-proof.
The instructions laid down under the Blue books should be scrupulously and meticulously followed and arrangements made accordingly.
Vehicles to be used should be subjected to thorough mechanical and anti-sabotage check. The antecedents of the drivers should be thoroughly verified and preference should be given to experienced drivers while finalising the scheme. Care should be taken to ensure that while finalising carcade arrangements no deviations are allowed.
Seating plans in the carcade should be finalised well in advance and the drivers instructed to be always available near the vehicle. The drivers must also be briefed regarding the speed so that all vehicles of the carcade keep pace with each other.
The flag rod for flying the National flag/party flag (depending on the nature of the visit) should be fixed on the left side and not in the centre of the car bonnet.
An assessment of the time to be taken during road journey from place to place should be carefully worked out. If the carcade is likely to pass through areas with high-rise buildings, these buildings should be identified and staff posted. All unmarked and unattended vehicles on the route should be identified and action taken to remove them immediately.
A thorough physical and anti-sabotage check of the route including culverts, bridges, drains, etc., will be necessary all along the route.
Contingency routes and contingency hospitals and safe houses should be identified and the officers in the carcade should be briefed regarding these arrangements.
Very often the VIP's passage is held up by enthusiastic crowd wanting to offer flowers or to request him to participate in a short function. Such contingencies should be anticipated by collection of intelligence and necessary security arrangements made without display of unnecessary uniformed policemen.
When, however, a VIP makes an unscheduled halt, then the senior most police officer present at such places should make such security arrangements as could be commanded in such circumstances.
The road, if it lies through a very heavily populated area and is of a considerable length, should be divided into small sectors, each placed under the charge of an officer with his staff who are responsible for maintaining order in that sector. The officer should be constantly on the move, along the allotted sector.
The constables posted for the duty should be given a manageable sector depending upon the anticipated crowd. It is his responsibility to control tactfully and with good humour that portion of the crowd which is in his sector. The co- operation of elders and responsible person of the locality gathered there should be
taken wherever possible to ensure orderly and disciplined behaviour on the part of the crowd.
When large crowds gather along the route at certain places, strategic reserves should be kept to be used for controlling sudden increase of crowd which cannot be held back by the policemen already in the street.
Officers are not expected to work with mathematical exactitude; all the same, they should avoid deploying too many policemen where very few are needed, or requisitioning reserves when it is not necessary. It often happens that when the VIP continues his journey through thick crowds, the younger and enthusiastic elements of the crowd begin to run behind the VIP's vehicle either on the road immediately behind the vehicle or on the sides of the road parallel to the vehicle. This is a very undesirable tendency and should be stopped by the policemen and officers standing along the route.