Lahore Police inducts new anti-riot squad

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Lahore Police is revamping its Anti Riots Force to counter protesters by introducing a new squad of 500 police recruits, police sources told Pakistan Today on Friday.
Sources said senior police officials were sensing the need for a more effective force to counter riots, as rampant protests being witnessed these days have tested the limits of ordinary cops. The new squad is based on recruits with a minimum height of 5 feet 10 inches.
The sources said that of the total number, 200 police jawans were already receiving training at Police Lines, Qila Gujjar Singh under the supervision of Superintendent of Police (Headquarters) Ather Waheed. They added that the squad would move under the directions of SP Headquarters only if SP Security calls them for help.
Reportedly, trainers at the Police Lines are creating real-life situations for the jawans of the new squad. Sources say that a group of cops becomes the protesters and the under-training jawans try to control them. It is for the first time that top officials have selected recruits with a minimum height of 5 ft 10 inches. Officials said that selectors had preferred jawans with athletic and well built bodies for the new anti-riot force. According to sources, senior police officials also inducted those policemen who had been recruited on sports basis, and that they would be deputed as plainclothesmen. They said the decision to include only well-built jawans for the riot force was taken after considering human psychology. They said people usually fear the tall and strong policemen and stay away from protesting.
They said the new force would be equipped with new anti riot kits, which include thigh pads, arm pads, chest jackets, helmets and shields. They added that the new kits were upgraded from the previous ones, and had been tested by cops during training. According to police officials, the need to revamp the anti riot force was felt after a protest on Bund Road near Gujjarpura, where a mob protesting against persistent blackouts thrashed policemen and torched their vehicles.
SP Ather Waheed told reporters that the new squad had been set up not to beat protesters but to influence their psychology. He said people would avoid any demonstration in the presence of huge cops. The under-training squad members said they too belonged to the society and would not harass the peaceful citizens.

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