Digital radio to keep tab on errant Kolkata cops

By Sabyasachi Roy, IANS
Monday, December 6, 2010

KOLKATA - Kolkata Police will turn to digital radio technology to keep an eye on errant policemen who are either negligent in duty or indulge in corrupt practices.

Police top brass have zeroed in on the Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) technology that helps wireless sets held by policemen in the field to also serve as tracking instruments.

“TETRA is connected with the global positioning system (GPS) that helps in tracking the location of police personnel and vehicles,” said an official.

The technology will ensure that policemen are actually functioning at the place they have been assigned. It will also help seniors locate and contact policemen in case there are public complaints of harassment against them.

“There have been several complaints of negligence in duty and corruption against personnel of flying squads. The new system will help us in cracking down on errant officers,” the official added, not wishing to be identified as he was not authorised to speak to the media.

“The system through which the location of the officers and vehicles are identified is called automatic vehicle and personnel tracking application,” he said.

“At present, the city police have no such device to track the exact location of policemen. So with the introduction of TETRA, senior officers will be able to monitor the whereabouts of others and track vehicles,” he added.

Kolkata Police have a strength of 26,000 personnel to man a population of five million.

Joint Commissioner of Police (Headquarters) Jawed Shamim said: “During the festive season, TETRA sets were used by traffic police personnel to monitor crowds and it worked successfully. We are working on this system and it will be installed shortly.”

Police are now working on the technicalities of the system, which will be introduced within three-four months.

The technology is being used by organisations like fire and rescue forces, ambulance services, frontier guards and transportation companies.

“All the officers in city police stations, traffic sergeants and other officers will be provided with TETRA handsets - used during Durga Puja and Kali Puja for better crowd management. We have decided to use it round the year,” said another officer.

Currently, Kolkata Police use wireless sets for communication that do not permit one-to-one calls between a policeman posted in the field and his superior who is some distance away.

Also, the frequency of police’s current wireless network can be tracked by some FM radio users, making police communication vulnerable to leaks.

“TETRA can be used both ways - as wireless and mobile phones. Even the network connectivity of TETRA is far better than the wireless sets,” said an official.

“More than 1,000 TETRA sets will be provided to officers-in-charge and additional officers-in-charge of all police stations and traffic guards. The traffic sergeants and flying squads of the wireless department will also be provided with these sets,” said another police officer.

In India, the Delhi Metro was the first organisation to use the TETRA system in 2002.

The Indian Army has been using TETRA facilities since 2004 at Mhow in Madhya Pradesh. Kerala Police also use the same technology.

(Sabyasachi Roy can be contacted at

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