At 20, elite coastal force performs key vigilance duty

At 20, elite coastal force performs key vigilance duty

The elite Karnataka State Coastal Security Police Force (KSCSPF), which faced an uncertain future till 2008, has completed 20 years.

The police force, now under the Internal Security division (ISD), was launched in 1999. It has jurisdiction over Karnataka’s coastal waters from Talapady in Dakshina Kannada district to Sadashivgad in Uttara Kannada district (about 320 km). The force, on the lines of elite squads in Gujarat and Maharashtra, was assigned the single task of collecting intelligence on ‘anti-national,’ ‘anti-social’  elements’ and sharing it with the departments concerned.

The force, which did not have powers to raid, arrest and seize, was described as a ‘force without teeth’.

KSCSPF, envisaged as a premier intelligence agency, was reduced to the status of a ‘white elephant’. In July 2008, a proposal was submitted to then DG&IGP K Sreenivasan on downsizing the force to a special squad under the respective district superintendent of police.

Subsequently, KSCSPF’s regional office in Mangaluru was closed down. But two decisive events forced the government to withdraw its decision and initiate steps to strengthen the force. The 2008 Mumbai attacks and deployment of troops along the border by Pakistan in December 2008 opened the eyes of government to the invaluable role of coastal security police force.

“The force was resurrected with executive powers and infrastructure was upgraded in a phased manner with funds from the Centre,” ADGP (ISD) A M Prasad told DH.

Presently 10 coastal security police stations along the coast are equipped with 13 interceptor boats.

“The force has been effectively performing rescue operations and tracing illegal activities in its jurisdiction (till 500 metres on land from the coast and up to 12 nautical miles into the sea),” KSCSP Superintendent of Police R Chethan said.

KSCSPF teams up with Coast Guards to conduct ‘Sagar Kavach’ exercise at regular intervals. The huge vacancy in the posts of constables are seen as handicaps to the force. SP Chethan told DH that retired naval and Coast Guard officers are being inducted to the force on a contract for five years.

KSCSPF has sought more dedicated jetties along the coast, which has six islands, two major ports and 13 minor ports, from the state and the Centre.

 

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