Commandos to deploy at all police stations in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

By Javed Khan

A commando of the Elite Force stands guard during Muharram in Peshawar October 1. [Javed Khan]

A commando of the Elite Force stands guard during Muharram in Peshawar October 1. [Javed Khan]

PESHAWAR -- Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Police are planning to deploy specially trained commandos at all provincial police stations to reinforce the security response during regular policing efforts.

The deployment already has started at some police stations in Peshawar.

"We are going to deploy Elite Force commandos in all the police stations so they can participate in search and strike operations and other actions taken by regular police," KP Inspector General of Police (IGP) Salahuddin Khan Mehsud told Pakistan Forward.

Presently commandos of the Elite Force are used only in extraordinary situations, and do not perform duties with the regular police, according to police officials.

"Now with their deployment at the police stations, they will participate in raids, patrols and other actions with the regular force," said Mehsud

Junior officers, including sub-inspectors and assistant sub-inspectors, will receive training in how to lead these commandos, who are familiar with regular police operations or interacting with the public, he said.

The deployments will improve operations and raids by the police and will reduce the burden on the regular force, he added.

"We are also considering ways to better utilise the highly trained contingent of the Special Combat Unit (SCU)," said Mehsud.

The SCU is a small contingent of 150 police commandos. They are capable of rapid deployment for sting operations, interdictions and counter-terrorism operations alone or in support of other police and law enforcement agencies.

Support from police, officials

KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, while addressing the Elite Force in Nowshera in February, lauded the police for being on the front line against terrorism. The chief minister announced a significant increase in salaries and other benefits of the police commandos.

A number of female commandos have completed training in recent months to join the Elite Force.

Elite Force commandos already have been deployed in some police stations near the boundary with Khyber Agency, according to Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Peshawar Mohammad Tahir.

Commandos serving in "some rural police stations in Peshawar" are there to "save time in responding to terrorists," he told Pakistan Forward.

In addition to Elite Force commandos, police stations in Mathra, Badhaber and Tatara each have a Rapid Response Force Unit, which is able to respond in case of emergency before regular police forces arrive.

"These commandos are much needed in actions while going after terrorists and hardened criminals," said Senior Superintendent of Police Operations Peshawar Sajjad Khan, agreeing with Mehsud that commandos will bring about better police raids and some relief for overburdened regular police.

Those commandos' special training will be invaluable "during emergencies", Saqib Afridi, a resident of Matani village near the tribal areas, told Pakistan Forward.

Deployment of the Elite Force and the construction of security posts on the boundary with tribal areas will help police respond well to any terrorist attack on Peshawar, he said.

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