Literature on counter-terrorism would soon be added to the curriculum at police training schools in the province, The Express Tribune has learnt. A new booklet has been prepared and approved for use. It is likely to be introduced at police schools within a month.
The current curricula for lower, middle and upper-level training courses do not include anything on counter-terrorism procedures.
A recent graduate of the upper course said there wasn’t much to the training except the physical training. He said none of the lessons covered procedures to deal with improvised explosive devices (IED) or suicide vests – objects the police had to increasingly deal with. He said the course did not even train them in proper use of metal detectors.
Sources in the Police Department said the decision to introduce anti-terrorism training was based on the failure to effectively counter terrorist attacks in the province in the December 2010 when suicide bombers attacked a Muharram procession near Data Darbar and the failure to fight terrorists who had attacked the Police Training School in Manawan and Ahmedia places of worship in Model Town and Garhi Shahu. “Police officials should have been able to defuse the suicide jacket of the terrorist who blew himself up some distance from the procession on December 17,” they said. They added that the loss of lives in Manawan and Ahmedia worship places attacks too could have been reduced had police been properly trained in counter-terrorism.
Additional Inspector General (Training) Sarmad Saeed Khan said that besides counter-terrorism, literature on ‘gender-responsive policing’ would be added to the training. “Policemen would be taught how to deal with women complainants and suspects,” he said.
The AIG said the new booklet would include information on various procedures to identify vehicles laden with explosives. They would be taught about proper use of the mirror to examine the bottom of cars etc. “Trainees will also learn about spaces in vehicles where explosives are most likely to be planted by terrorists,” he said.
The updated training would include lessons in the use of metal detectors, walk through gates and how to tackle suicide bombers if they come in close contact with them.
He said other topics covered in the booklet are maintenance of ‘three-layered security’ and security of very-important and very-very-important personalities, making bunkers and erecting fences around sensitive buildings. he booklet does not include anything on use of long-range weapons. The recent graduate the Tribune talked to said he was taught how to fire FMG, 0303, semi automatic and G-3 rifles and small-range guns but not weapons such 0.223-bore rifles , repeaters, 0.12-bore shot guns, light machine guns (LMGs), sniper rifles and rockets.
He said they were also not taught anything about explosives like tri-nitro-toluene (TNT) chemicals like as ammonium nitrate, potassium and nitro glycerin.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 6th, 2011.