West Bengal Police to set up dog squads in all districts

Kolkata: Very few people can forget the contribution of Zanjeer — the Labrador Retriever which served as a detection dog with the Mumbai Police and helped avert several explosions during the 1993 Mumbai blasts. In recognition of his impeccable service, Zanjeer was accorded a full state funeral.

During the multiple blasts that rocked India’s financial capital in March 1993, Zanjeer helped avert at least three attacks, detecting not only RDX and gelatine sticks, but also assisting in recovering more than 100 AK 56 rifles, 9 mm pistols and 200 grenades.

With rising cases of crime in the state, the West Bengal Police, which presently has a 60-member dog squad, has decided to expand the number of dog squads across the state. Accordingly, the state police directorate has sent a proposal to the state secretariat for purchasing an additional 216 dogs for detecting criminals, drugs and explosives. The state police is hopeful that the proposal will be sanctioned soon.

According to senior officers in the state police, while there are dog kennels and dog squads in some districts and commissionerates, they are not available in all the districts and commissionerates.

The proposal sent to the state secretariat mentions that the West Bengal Police is keen to build dog kennels and dog squads in all the 38 districts and commissionerates in the state.

“According to the proposal, there will be four dogs — two crime trackers and two sniffers — in all the districts and commissionerates. There will be separate kennels and veterinary doctors for them. The proposal also says that as cases of smuggling are reported more from the bordering districts such as Jalpaiguri, Coochbehar, Maldah and Murshidabad, these districts will be allocated additional dogs,” a senior officer said.

According to another senior officer of the state police, presently the state has 60 dogs of which 10 are stationed at the Swami Vivekananda Training Centre in Barrackpore. The rest of the dogs are stationed in different districts and commissionerates.

“As most of the districts don’t have their own dog squad, they have to borrow dogs from the neighbouring districts during investigations. This takes time and hampers the investigation process,” the officer said.

“If the proposal is sanctioned, there will be dog squads in each district and commissionerate, which will help accelerate the process of investigation. Moreover, cases of murder, smuggling of drugs and arms have increased in the last few years, so the presence of these trained dogs will help detect the crimes faster,” the officer said, adding that the squads will have four to five dogs at a time.

The plan to expand the number of dog squads became stronger after some recent murders in Kolkata and its suburbs.

“In the recent Gariahat murder case, a dog helped the police detect the criminals quickly. The police could take action on the basis of the findings of the dog. In the airport also, dogs are successfully doing the job of detecting drugs. So we decided to increase the number of dog squads to help detect crimes quickly,” the officer added.

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