Man’s best friend is increasingly doubling as the railway cop’s sidekick. Since well-trained dogs, part of the railway police, are a force to reckon with, both the Central and Western Railways are adding new sniffer dogs to their police force to monitor railway stations on the Mumbai suburban rail section.
The Railway Protection Force (RPF) of the Central Railway (CR) which already prides itself on its team of 26 canines will be getting six Labradors, a breed known for smelling out explosive materials and illegal substances once imparted training. Two of the new dogs will be brought to its kennels at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) while the remaining four will be sent for training.
“The two dogs, after completing their training, will join the force within two months,” said senior divisional security commissioner (Mumbai) Alok Bohra. The pups are purchased when they are one to three months old and inducted into the force at the age of nine months after they have undergone training.
Officers say that once these dogs come into the force their trainers will take them for rounds across railway stations and inside local trains. This practice is not a new thing for Mumbaikars who commonly see dogs accompanying RPF officers inside the compartments of local trains. The sniffer dogs come in handy in case of complaints of unclaimed baggage seen lying on station premises. They can detect presence of explosive items or drugs inside the baggage.
The RPF of the Western Railway (WR) has, meanwhile, called for tenders for hiring 12 dogs at a cost of Rs 30.30 lakh on the Mumbai division, including Surat, Vapi and Valsad. Eight of these dogs would man the city’s suburban section from Churchgate to Dahanu.
A railway police officer said that of the eight dogs, two each will be posted at Churchgate and Borivli stations, while one each at Mumbai Central, Bandra, Andheri and Virar stations. In January 2012, the Western Railway RPF recruited three pups, while the Central Railway RPF added three new kennels to their current two facilities at CST and other railway stations from CST to Karjat/Kasara for housing sniffer dogs.