Mumbai: The Railway Protection Force (RPF) of Central Railway has increased the presence of sniffer dogs at railway stations for the safety of passengers. RPF has at least 37 canines and they are housed at four kennels at Chhtrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT), Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT), Matunga and Kalyan.
These dogs are on round-the-clock duty and sniff for explosives at high footfall stations like CSMT, Dadar, Ghatkopar, Kalyan and Thane. The RPF officials said the sniffer dogs are trained at two locations — one at Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh and Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu.
“These dogs are trained when they are 6-month-old pups. That is the time when they are easily trained along with their dog handlers and support handler. There are both Labradorsand Dobermans amongst these set of canines who are trained at the respective training centres,” said an RPF official.
These pups are trained for a period of eight months before they are deployed at respective stations on the central line. “They are trained to identify narcotic drugs and practical training is provided to identify robbers after sniffing the victim whose items have been stolen. Special focus is given to training related to passenger safety after incidents of terrorist attacks at railway stations in the city,” added the official.
These dogs are usually called after threat calls for bomb blasts and to sniff suspicious luggages of passengers travelling on the long-distance trains. “During the training session, the dog handlers and their substitute (support handler) are also trained along with the canines. They are trained together in order to gel well so that they obey their handler’s orders during an emergency situation,” added the official.
These handlers are posted at their respective kennels and monitor their ‘ward’s’ food pattern and health conditions. “During thefts or important events, which requires security, the dog squads are called in order to check whether any bombs are placed at the location of the event or a railway station,” added the official.
During checks related to passenger safety, the Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad (BDDS) of Mumbai Police and the RPF sniffer dogs conduct a combined search of railway stations.
“The sense of smell is strong in the breed of Labradors and are hence they called during threat calls. While, Dobermans are called during theft cases in order catch robbers. The dogs are intelligent in identifying the smell and can also guide you towards the direction from which the robbers escaped with the stolen items,” added the official.