A "new strategy" has been worked out to prevent incidents of weapon-snatching or loot in Jammu and Kashmir, the police said on Sunday, two days after a special police officer posted with a legislator fled with at least eight weapons from his official residence in Srinagar.
SPO Sheikh Adil, hailing from Shopian, ran away with seven AK-47 rifles and a licensed pistol of the PDP MLA Aijaz Mir from his Jawahar Nagar residence on Friday, triggering a security alert across Kashmir. The police announced Rs 2 lakh reward for anyone giving credible information about the SPO.
"In Jawahar Nagar incident, one of the major loopholes was that PSOs didn't follow the guidelines set for proceeding on leave.They had kept their weapons at the MLA's quarter and were enjoying leave," a source in the police said.
Under the "new plan", there will be regular briefings by heads of concerned wings of PSOs on "security and protection issues."
"It has been found that PSOs forget the guidelines issued to them which leads to incidents of weapon-snatching or loot. There is already a set rule that no PSO can go on leave without depositing his weapon with his concerned unit," the source said.
He said that the police have tasked senior officers of the rank of SDPOs and SHOs with "monitoring the behaviour of PSOs and keep a close watch on them," following the Jawhar Nagar incident.
Additional director general of police (law and order/security) Munir Khan said that it has been made mandatory for all PSOs to deposit their weapons with their concerned wings before proceeding on leave.
"If a PSO belongs to district police lines, he has to go there and deposit his weapon. Similarly, if a PSO belongs to security wing, he has to deposit his weapon with the concerned unit," Khan said. "In case a PSO finds it difficult to travel longer distances with his weapon, he should deposit it at a nearby police station against a proper receipt and then proceed on leave."
Khan said the leaves shall be first granted by concerned unit heads of the PSOs.
"The police station concerned should be kept in loop. SDPOs and SHOs concerned should know who is on leave and for how long," the ADGP said. "Leave without permission will be treated as violation of duty rules and can invite disciplinary action."
The ADGP said that protected persons in Kashmir decide and grant leaves to their PSOs on their own, which has been strongly prohibited.
"While on duty, the PSOs have been strictly asked to chain up their weapons. PSOs are not bank guards. They are responsible and have a duty of protecting a person which is not an easy job," Khan said.