Police seek hi-tech scanners to check vehicles carrying explosives

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In a fresh development, the Sindh police have sought support from the provincial government to acquire modern and high-tech vehicle scanners for exit and entry points of the province and key spots across Karachi to keep a check on suspicious vehicles carrying arms and explosives entering and leaving the city.

The proposal is also designed to modernize the concept of snap-checking in urban policing that usually cause nuisance to road users.

The plan has been forwarded to the finance department of the province and the law enforcement agency is now waiting for a final nod.The proposal was conceived more than a year ago.

It came to light again after the recent surge of crimes in Karachi and reports of movement of snatched vehicles by carjackers carrying arms from the city to other parts of the country.

For Karachi, law-enforcers recommend 10 scanners to randomly check movement of armed persons“We have sought installation of modern high-tech vehicle scanners on key exit and entry points of the province and there are some six such points,” the top official added.

“We also want scanners within Karachi. Those scanners are compact and not of those kinds which are installed or put in place on highways. They are moveable, easy to handle and need only a couple of people to operate.

These machines are used for scanning moving vehicles without creating a scene on roads. In Karachi we have proposed at least 10 compact and smart scanners which we can use for checking and snap-checking when required or on any intelligence-based report.”

The Sindh police sources said that the law enforcement agency for a long time was pleading for scanners to be installed at key points mainly on the city’s exit and entrance and for that they had approached the authorities concerned to get a nod for procurement.

“The issue came under the spotlight again in June 2020 when the PSX came under an armed attack,” said a source sharing background information of the proposal. “The investigation into the incident showed serious loopholes and a lack of capacity of the police in some areas.

One of which was free movement of [the militants in] a vehicle carrying arms, ammunition and explosives within the city.”

The findings, he said, pushed the police authorities to further build their case for installation of the scanners at key points of the city connecting with other cities of the province and Balochistan.“Similarly, it is also proposed that some of the areas within the city should also be covered.

Snap-checking following any lead or an intelligence report sometimes causes inconvenience and attracts a strong reaction from the public. The technology can help in this regard,” he added.

The PSX had come under attack in June 2020 when four heavily armed attackers lobbed grenades at its entrance and opened fire on security guards and officials.

The miscreants were killed in an exchange of fire that also claimed the lives of a police officer and three security guards.

The outlawed Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) had claimed responsibility for the attack.

“It emerged during the course of the investigation that the armed men had entered the city through regular routes and managed to reach their destination, in the heart of the city, successfully without any trouble.

It’s difficult to check every moving vehicle and only technology and modern gadgets can help curtail such crimes and terrorist acts,” said a senior official while confirming the proposal for the procurement of the scanners.

He said the Sindh police budget had a limited capacity for procurement and the law-enforcement agency had sought support from the provincial government for the high-tech equipment.

With an increase of over Rs6 billion, the Sindh government in June 2021 allocated Rs119.97bn in the head of law and order in its budget for fiscal year 2021-22 compared to Rs113.87bn allocated in the last fiscal year.

An amount of Rs3.695bn is allocated for purchase of physical assets for the Sindh police.

Budget document says, of the amount, Rs2 billion will be for procurement of transport and Rs1.1 billion for arms and ammunition.

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