THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Shadow Police should remain in the shadows. That was the message top echelons of the city police have delivered to the officers in the lower rung who oversee the functioning of the shadow police, the coveted wing of the City Police formed to clandestinely monitor and curb criminal activities in the city.
Though refusing to divulge more about the action plan to be chalked out, the new City Police Commissioner, T J Jose, said low profile officers alone can contribute to the clandestinely operating wing. ”The area of operation of the wing is expected to get widened soon. Now, we are facing a manpower deficit. Once the officers who are deployed for Sabarimala duty return, we will enhance the force strength,” he said.
The much-hyped wing was formed in the city in March 2011, under the patronage of the then Commissioner Manoj Abraham. The team had met with initial success with the undercover officers tailing behind suspects and criminals, helping to curb law and order offences in the city.
In the initial phase, 50-80 policemen attached to various stations in the city were handpicked by the officers and inducted to the wing.
The men were no longer in their khaki uniforms and hit the streets in modern outfits, hoodwinking the criminals and anti- socials. They kept a close tab on the activities of goonda elements, sand and real- estate lobbies, moneylenders, drug peddlers, hooch traders and anti-social elements and assisted the city police in containing the criminals.
It was in these circumstances that the top sleuths decided to further enhance the clandestine functioning of the wing. Citing security concerns, the Commissioner opted to remain tight-lipped.
”We would enhance the strength of the force in number, but I can’t reveal the figures now. How many will be drawn to the wing and where will they be stationed and what sort of crimes would they focus on, all will remain a closely guarded secret, except for the top officials,” he said.
Meanwhile, some police officers are still unsure how to strengthen the wing by drawing more officers from the stations. They feel that the act would further undermine the efficiency of the stations. Besides, some of the members of shadow police are under a cloud of suspicion over their alleged connections with ‘reputed’ criminals.
The prestigious community policing had failed to take off owing to acute shortage of officers and with the arrival of new plans, it is feared that the normal functioning of the police might get hit.