All-terrain vehicles to help State coastal police

Karnataka State Police will become one of the first in the country to induct all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) to patrol its coasts in the coming months, while Tamil Nadu and Gujarat have similar plans in the pipeline.

The new vehicles will help the coastal police exercise more efficiently their duties along the 320-km jurisdiction along Karnataka’s coast from Talapady in Dakshina Kannada district to Sadashivgad in Uttara Kannada district.

The Internal Security Division (ISD) of State Police Department has completed trials of ATVs of three manufacturers — State-owned Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited  (BHEL), Mahindra and Mahindra and Polaris, a Bangalore-based company.

Sources said personnel involved in conducting trials will soon submit a report, following which they will await clearance for procurement/acquisition. Inspector General of Police (IGP) Bhaskar Rao, said: “Initially we are looking at having one ATV for each of our nine coastal police stations, which our under ISD. Eventually, the numbers will increase.”

Stating that the department is in the process of consolidating the specification, Rao said each police station has a jurisdiction of 30 km. ATVs, he said, will help land patrolling along the coasts, which is difficult to do with normal vehicles, even if they are four-wheel drives.

“Beach patrolling is a difficult task in the absence of specialised vehicles. There are 71 identified landing points along the coast, surveillance of which is important. ATVs will help us perform this duty more efficiently,” Rao said. Once the technical specifications are submitted to the government along with cost estimations, sources said, a clearance will be required before floating tenders inviting manufacturers to supply the vehicles.

“We have seen vehicles from all three manufacturers. We are yet to make a final decision,” Rao said. The coastal police, already equipped with interceptor boats and speedboats, is further modernising itself, sources said, as part of overall modernisation programme of ISD. The ISD is even looking at acquiring unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and micro air vehicles (MAVs) among others.

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