Mock drill at Metro stations takes passengers aback

Mock drill at Metro stations takes passengers aback

Police conducted mock drills for the first time at Metro stations across the city on Saturday to assess their preparedness for untoward incidents and catastrophic events. “Hoax bomb calls, terrorist infiltration or attacks are some of the situations that could arise without any warning and we wanted to know for ourselves how prepared we are,” a senior police officer said.

The drills were conducted in the morning peak hour without any intimation. Even the officials of the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd were caught unawares as they had been kept out of the loop. Saturday was chosen because the crowd is bigger and the challenge for police stiffer, a source said. Metro was chosen for the drill because of its visibility exposure and connectivity to prominent places in the city. Sniffer dogs, bomb detection and disposal squad, anti-sabotage squad and Quick Reaction Teams (QRTs) were part of the drill.

Many passengers were taken aback by the drill which they thought was either a police operation or an emergency. Some of them even alerted television channels and newspapers to the “breaking news”.  Some passengers panicked initially, but when police reassured them that it was a drill, they were excited and offered to cooperate, the source said, adding that “nobody was put to inconvenience”.

Different police divisions carried out the drill at Metro stations in their jurisdiction. “There are eight Metro stations in the western division alone and we are now confident about our preparedness,” an officer who was part of the drill told DH. “It was a different experience to check through the entire line, columns, piers and supporting structures in a limited time.”

A senior police officer said that while general mock drills were conducted regularly at bus stations and railway stations — the last one being in January — it was the first time that detailed drills were conducted at Metro stations. “We will conduct many more such drills in the future to assess our preparedness,” he added.