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LAHORE: The city police finally raised a new designated force – Special Security Unit (SSU) – for the protection of VVIP personalities.

The personnel of the new force are said to be highly trained in motorcycle formation, avoiding cavalcade interception and field interruption, besides multiple target engagement.

Initially, 275 police personnel have been designated for the SSU and in the next phases their number will be raised to 1,000 for the special and high-profile assignments, including protocol duties and the VVIPs protection.

An interesting aspect of this development is that the force was created from the available resources of the Lahore police, a police official told Dawn.

He said during recent meetings, the higher police authorities were informed that the personnel of the Lahore’s operation and investigation wings were being assigned ‘unauthorised’ protocol and security assignments.

These assignments were consuming 45 percent of the strength of provincial capital police, contributing to chronic shortage of human resource in the Lahore police, he said.

To help resolve the issue, the authorities took the initiative and formed the dedicated SSU, he added.

Sharing some salient features of the new force, Civil Lines SP Ali Raza told Dawn that during the last few years Lahore police department had been focusing on specialisation which was evident from recent initiatives like Front Desk, Hotel Eye, Local Eye etc.

“Now it has achieved another milestone by establishing for the first time the designated specialised unit for the VVIP duties that comprises highly-trained officials”, he said.

The 275 personnel inducted in the SSU were shortlisted from various wings of the Lahore police, including investigation, operation and from different offices, keeping in view their professional skills required to handle the new assignment.

They completed some tough courses to hone their skills, he said, adding that the Lahore security SP would be in charge of the new unit.

Meanwhile, a passing out parade of these 275 personnel was also held at the Police Lines, Qilla Gujar Singh, here on Saturday.

The demonstrations given by the passing out personnel were also part of the ceremony.

Addressing the ceremony, the capital city police officer (CCPO) said the provincial capital police had entered a new era to cater to the modern day policing needs.

He said structural changes had also been introduced in the Lahore police, particularly in three major areas of administration, human resource and budget.

The personnel of the new force will resume their new assignments from Monday (tomorrow), the CCPO said.

Published in Dawn, November 19th, 2017