Kerala police to strengthen Special Operation Group to take on criminal gangs

Each station has an SOG comprising an inspector, 2 civil police officers
Representational image
Representational image

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a bid to enhance its offensive against criminal gangs, the state police have decided to resuscitate the Special Operation Group (SOG) in every police station. The SOG was formed at district level to crack down on gangs and organised crime syndicates when gang activities increased and began creating headlines.

However, in several areas, the SOG’s activities did not take off as expected. After reviewing their performance, the police decided to ramp up SOG’s functioning at individual police stations.

The SOG in each station comprises an inspector and two civil police officers. It functions in secrecy—cops in plainclothes monitor gangsters and criminal elements. The inspector’s role is supervisory and the SOG has the legal mandate to arrest suspects. Its prime focus is on collecting details of gangs and report it to the inspector. After consulting with senior officials, the SOG will take action, including raids and arrests.

“The formation of the SOG is meant to do away with the hierarchy that exists within each station and streamline action against criminal gangs. Cops can directly interact with the inspector and apprise them of the situation on the ground. Since the team is exclusively formed to combat organised crime rackets, it can work without being distracted by other duties,” said a senior officer.

Sources said since the district intelligence wing and the SOG fall under the district police chiefs, a synergised working of the two wings can fetch good results. “The district special branch collects information and conveys it to the district police chief. The collated information can be useful for the SOG to act on,” the officer said.

The state police have been acting tough against criminal elements, including gangsters, recently after a spike in their activities was reported.

In the latest edition of the anti-goonda drive, the police last month arrested over 5,000 people across the state. The special drive, launched against goons and drug peddlers, was monitored directly by the state police chief.

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