RAWALPINDI: In the wake of the recent bombing at Data Darbar Lahore and the overall security situation in the country, the police have issued ‘colour coded threat level advisory’ for the four districts of Rawalpindi division to ensure foolproof security and self-protection of law enforcement officials.

Ahmad Ishaq Jehangir, former regional police officer (RPO), had issued the advisory a few days before he was transferred. But practically the standard operating procedure (SOP) is not being followed by the police.

Retired Capt Ehsan Tufail has replaced Mr Jehangir as the RPO.

Decision taken in wake of Data Darbar attack and overall security situation in country

The outgoing RPO had told Dawn that the current colour code threat level in Rawalpindi range was orange - high risk of terrorist attacks. The police were issued an advisory regarding taking security measures.

Foreign flights using Indian airspace are not being allowed to cross over Pakistan due to the security situation and this ban has already been extended to May 30.

A red colour-coded threat level advisory is a final state of alert in which every attack appears imminent. The law enforcement agencies, including police, are put on the red alert against the possibility of any terrorist attack.

When the threat alert level is ‘red’ against an individual, the police have to take precautionary measures and immediately inform that individual to take security measures by moving to a safer place.

And if the red code threat is issued regarding a sensitive installation, the police officers such as SDPO and SHO, of the area should immediately visit that place and brief its in-charge or owner. In case security arrangements were not put in place according to the SOP, a case should be registered against the concerned person under the Punjab Security of vulnerable Establishment Act 2015.

If the threat alert level is ‘red’ regarding an important function, the chief security officer and SHO should visit the place and inform the organisers about the threat level and search and sweeping of the premises should be conducted by Special Branch and police.

The premises in which the function was planned should be covered with barbed and razor wire and entry of people should be restricted to one place only. At the entry point, a walkthrough gate should be erected with deployment of Special Branch and police personnel and every person should be subjected to body search. In addition, the police should be deployed at the rooftops of surrounding buildings and parking of vehicles be allowed 300 to 400 yards away from the venue.

And if the red code threat is regarding a police station or a mobile van, a police guard would be deployed at the rooftop of the police station building with bulletproof jacket and helmet. And at least three police officials with bulletproof jackets and helmets would be deployed on the police van.

The main gate of the police station will remain closed while a small gate would be used where a gunman with bulletproof jacket and helmet would be deployed.

A police official in plainclothes will be assigned on hang-around duty around the compound wall of the police station. One searchlight should also be kept with the in-charge security duty at the checkpoint and barriers should be placed in a zigzag shape for checking vehicles. And police officials should not be deployed in cluster at checkpoints.

The patrolling officer will make sure that all police officials were wearing bulletproof jackets, micro phone and search lights lying in the police van and functioning properly.

And the van driver will remain alert on his seat. While checking vehicles, the police officials will remain alert on the right and left of the police official who will be searching.

In the state of a red alert, bunkers should be erected at a 200 metre distance along the boundary wall of Police Lines Headquarters and other offices with police officials deployed wearing bulletproof jackets and helmets.

Bottom view mirror will be used to scan the vehicles and every vehicle entering the police lines will be noted on a register and cell phone of every person entering will be deposited at the gate.

Almost similar SOP for the security of individuals, important functions, police stations, checkposts, police mobile vans and police establishments had been devised by the police for the two other threat levels.

The orange threat alert level is for “high risk of terrorist attack” and yellow threat alert is for significant risk of terrorist attacks.

Published in Dawn, May 18th, 2019