PANAJI: At a time when crimes committed with guns are showing a rise in Goa, one would expect the police to be expert marksmen, but ironically the new batch of recruits will graduate with no practical training in the use of firearms.
It’s seriously concerning that around 374 constable recruits undergoing training in preparation for the upcoming National Games will have no practical knowledge of firing. This batch is among 900-odd who began their training in the Police Training School (PTS) in Valpoi on March 15 while the remaining were sent to Delhi Police Training Academy.
Reliable sources confirmed to The Goan that of the total constable recruits in Goa, around 135 are female recruit constables – all lacking the mandatory training in handling guns or even basic practice.
Acute shortage of place for firearms training
In fact, Goa faces the absence of a permanent firing practice range since the closure of the only facility at Maulinguem that once boasted 10 lanes at varying distances for target practice. Pistols, revolvers, MP5, AK47, 9MM, Carbine, Insas, SLRs and other approved rifles were used to practice at a distance of 20, 50, 100, 300 and 500 meters - now a thing of the past.
It’s been years and the department has allegedly failed to look for a suitable alternative.
In what could further lead to embarrassment for the department, the 3 Military Training Regiment (MTR) at Rawanfond, Margao has apparently shown least interest in granting access to the Goa Police. The reason could be for strategic purposes.
Sources further stated that Goa Police had sent a request to the 3MTR for access to their shooting range for the current batch of constables. There has been no response from the other end and the department has neither pursued the matter further.
“Agniveers undergo rigorous training sessions within the 3MTR campus. These army personnel also have their own drill sessions. They are packed almost the entire year,” one of the officials revealed.
In fact, this isn’t the first instance when the department has been sidelined. Sources said that there were earlier indications of reluctance by the 3MTR over permission to impart training within the secured complex and the cops in addition to reserved force were sent to other camps such as CRPF, BSF, etc in other states.
Non-functional firing simulator
Even more worrisome is that the four-lane ‘firing simulators’ at the PTS have not been operational for over two years. This means that not only the current batch of recruits but also the recent past batches are inducted into the disciplined force possibly without the vital practical knowledge of handling firearms.
The much-hyped simulators, purchased in 2015 at a cost of around Rs 16-17 lakh, suffered from a lack of periodical maintenance. Red tape bureaucracy further complicated the matter.
No refresher courses
“Weekly practice during the nine-month basic training period is not taking place, and the training period is approaching completion within the next seven weeks. No tender has been issued for its repairs,” the source said. The firing simulators offered to practice with .22 Insas rifles and AK 47.
If not the new recruits only, even the current officers have not had the opportunity to undergo refresher courses for firing practice in the absence of both – shooting range and firing simulators.