A police drone hovers on the premises of the Rastriya Sabha Griha in Kathmandu during the visit by President Pranab Mukherjee Thursday. (Dinesh Golay/Republica)
KATHMANDU, Nov 3: “The venue and its vicinity are sterile…. now security personnel can take up their duties,” DIG Dr Rajib Subba instructed duty officers via a communications set three hours prior to the civic felicitations offered to visiting President of India Pranab Mukherjee. With this instruction, security at the entrance gates were tightened and armed perosnnel stood guard at the premises.
At the same time, UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) devices or drones were also used at the City Hall for about 50 minutes. “As we didn’t diagnosed any threat while monitoring the spot and its surroundings through instant image captures and recording of stable videos from the sky, security personnel took up their duties,” Dr Subba, who heads the communications department of Nepal Police, informed.
Though the City Hall is located in the heart of city it has no CCTV surveillance, posing a real security challenge for the security forces. Police used those two recently imported devices as the back of the Hall, where the Kathmandu Tower is being constructed, and the top of the Hall itself could not be spotted properly.
The UAV operators, who were trained after the devastating earthquake last year, have been operating two of the devices during disaster management, traffic management and crowd control.
Among the latest technological innovations used in crime curbing, the Digital Forensics Technology, Rapid Communications System and UAV devices have become important tools in proactive policing, according to DIG Hemanta Malla, spokesperson of Nepal Police.
Malla said, “The Rapid Communications System and UAV devices have become major tools in providing foolproof security for VVIPs.”
Nepal Police have been using about 50 sets of the Rapid Communications System and these provide additional information for tackling any hindrances or possible threats during VVIP convoy movements.
Security personnel handling the system are deployed in sensitive and tactical areas and areas that lack CCTV surveillance. The system donated by Huawei, the Chinese manufacturer of telecommunications and networking equipment, can be installed in just a few minutes and are portable.
“With the use of this system we can make calls, send SMS and do video conferencing through one system at a time,” DIG Subba said adding that it assists in taking immediate action. With the help of the system they were able to arrest a few suspects and clean suspicious areas on the VVIP routes, police officials said.
Police have also used ‘mobile jammers’, equipment that deactivates cell phone networks, in an attempt to further enhance security for the Indian president. A vehicle with the ‘mobile jammers’ follows the VVIP convoy and temporarily disables the phone network within a 100 meter radius.
“Of the four jammers, one is in use in Kathmandu, one is on standby, and two othrrs have been sent to Pokhara and Janakpur, places where the Indian president is scheduled to visit Friday,” according to police.
Lack of adequate technological support would have created some gaps in VVIP security, police officials said. Unlike the police, the Nepal Army and the Armed Police Force have been using military equipment also to provide foolproof security.