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New courses for police commandos planned

July 30, 2012

KARACHI, July 29: For the first time, the Sindh police authorities have incorporated swimming and sharp-shooting in the commando training programme of policemen aimed at enhancing their anti-terrorism skills, it emerged on Sunday.

Officials said the process to acquire firing simulator had been completed and an under-construction swimming pool at Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Elite Police Training Centre, Razzaqabad — the province’s only centre for elite training that serves hundreds of would-be police commandos every year — was set to become operational.

“During the commando training course at the Razzaqabad centre, policemen learn how to operate a submachine gun (7.62mm calibre), an AK-47 assault rifle — commonly known as Kalashnikov — and a G-3 rifle,” said an official at the centre located on the outskirts of the city on the National Highway.

“Sharp-shooting is one of the commando training courses aimed at improving shooting skills of trainees. The course demands complete accuracy in firing. But in the absence of the facility [a firing simulator], it has become difficult and a time-consuming exercise to measure the level of accuracy of a shooter.”

He said the firing simulator helped rating expertise of shooters. Currently, trainee commandos were required to fire in the open field and hit targets in the open. The practice never helped measure the level of precision and accuracy with which a firer takes an aim, shoots and hits a target.

However, a senior official said the authorities had finally made arrangement for the import of firing simulator that would be in place when the next batch of commando trainees would join the centre after Ramazan.

“We are very much hopeful that the first batch after Eid would be trained with the facility of firing simulator,” said SSP Maqsood Ahmed, principal of the Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Elite Police Training Centre.

“Arrangements have been made and it would be for the first time that our commandos would be trained with firing simulator.

The batch of between 600 and 700 would be enrolled just after Eid for commando training,” he added.

Senior officials associated with the commando training of policemen said under the existing circumstances, practically, there was no course offered to prepare sharpshooters in the Sindh police and it was entirely upon the natural skills or personal capacity of police officials that made them good shooters.

They added that swimming — considered a key skill in commando training — was also missing from the course as hundreds of policemen were being trained and declared certified police commandos without that crucial proficiency.

Lack of proper and modern facilities at the centre had damaged the scope of overall training, they said, explaining that the commando training could be made more effective with the help of modern equipment.

“The introduction of two key facilities would definitely help enhance skills and capacity of police commandos to manifold,” said SSP Ahmed.

He added that the Sindh police authorities in recent years had focused more on training of the policemen amid rising challenges of regular crime and persistent threat of terrorism.