Bomb threats: Delhi Police to expand bomb detection, disposal and dog squads amid surge in hoax calls

There are five bomb disposal squads, 18 bomb detection teams and one dog squad with 70 canines for Delhi's 15 police districts
Representative Image
Representative Image

After bomb threats over email to schools, hospitals and other establishments in the national capital, the Delhi Police has planned to expand its bomb detection, disposal and dog squads in each of its districts for swift action, official sources said, according to a report by PTI.

There are five bomb disposal squads, 18 bomb detection teams and one dog squad with 70 canines for Delhi's 15 police districts. All three units are under the Crime Branch.

In the past two months, there have been at least seven instances of hospitals, schools, colleges, museums, railway establishments, prisons and government offices getting bomb threats via email that were sent using virtual private networks (VPN) or proxy servers, states the PTI report.

The threats were later found to be hoaxes and are being investigated by the Special Cell.

The sources said whenever such a threat is received, the entire machinery of the administration is tasked with sweeping the premises. After the local police, the bomb detection, disposal and dog squads are first responders in such emergencies, they said.

But due to the limited resources available with these units, the personnel are overworked and that leads to a higher probability of mishaps, they added.

As per PTI, an official source said there is a plan to increase the strength of these squads and setting up dedicated units for each police district of Delhi. This will help the force act swiftly during emergencies, the source said and added that a plan has been drafted and the files sent to the higher authorities for approval.

According to the proposal, the bomb detection, disposal and dog squads will be divided with the induction of more personnel.

There is a proposal to buy gadgets for bomb detection, disposal as well as bulletproof jackets, reports PTI.

The dog squad, which currently has 61 sniffers, six trackers and three for detecting narcotics, may be distributed among each police district. The number of dogs and handlers will also be increased if the proposal is approved, the sources said.

According to official data, the Delhi Police's dog squad has 27 labrador retrievers, 18 Belgian shepherds (malinois), 16 German shepherds, and nine golden retrievers aged between six and nine months, states PTI.

On average, each dog serves the force for around nine years, after which they are handed over to non-government organisations following their retirement, an officer said.

There are dedicated dog squad units at a few locations but the police's plan proposes to set up units in its Shahdara, South, Rohini, Southeast, Outer, Outernorth, Northeast and Dwarka districts, the official source said, states PTI.

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