KOCHI: In a bid to strengthen the functioning of the coastal police wing along the 580-km coastline of the state, the Kerala Police have decided to make the coastal police an independent wing under the control of a commandant. Under the new commandant, the coastal police will be a specialised wing on the lines of the Armed Reserve police force.
State Police Chief Loknath Behera said the police department had conducted a thorough security audit of the coastal areas and the decision to make Coastal Police an independent wing was taken to transform it into a highly capable unit to take on the new security challenges posed from the sea.“Kochi is one of the main regions in the state where coastal policing will be further strengthened. As per our security audit, eight minutes is the time required for an intruder to travel from the harbour mouth to the mainland in Kochi. So, the coastal police need to be equipped to counter the intrusion within these eight minutes,” said Behera.
Already, the state police have raised a coastal warden wing for the coastal police by inducting 177 people from the fishing community. Currently, the state has eight coastal police stations and the coastal wardens will work in close tandem with these police stations for guarding the coastal territory and carrying out rescue operations. The force has already been given training in sea patrolling.
Once the entire force is put under the control of a commandant, the state police will chart out specific duties and roles for the unit to handle the security of the coasts and conduct patrolling in the sea up to five nautical miles. The state government has proposed to construct six more coastal police stations.
At present, there are coastal police stations at Vizhinjam (Thiruvananthapuram), Neendakara (Kollam), Thottampally (Alappuzha), Fort Kochi (Ernakulam), Azhikkode (Thrissur), Beypore (Kozhikode), Azheekkal (Kannur) and Thalangara (Kasaragod). The force has more than 30 high-speed patrol boats, eight major boats and two heavy boats.