Mumbai Police's anti chain-snatching squad is ill-equipped

Mumbai Police set up a dedicated unit to curb chain-snatching incidents in the city, but neglected to provide it with basic amenities, like a telephone; it took four months before the unit even got an office

Over five months have passed since the Mumbai Police, concerned by rampant chain-snatching incidents in the city, set up a special squad dedicated to detecting and preventing such cases.

With about 20 chain-snatching incidents taking place in the city every day on average, the Mumbai Police began to put up banners informing the general public about the danger. The ACSU was another initiative on part of the police to curb such cases. File pic
With about 20 chain-snatching incidents taking place in the city every day on average, the Mumbai Police began to put up banners informing the general public about the danger. The ACSU was another initiative on part of the police to curb such cases. File pic

Since then, however, it has all but left the Anti-Chain Snatching Unit (ACSU) to fend for itself, failing to provide it with even a telephone, or any other essential equipment. It was only last month that the unit was provided with a one-room office on the third floor of Sahar police station, four months after the team was set up.

Such is the apathy surrounding this department that till date, the unit still does not have vehicles (either two- or four-wheelers), wireless equipment or computers. It’s hardly surprising that the team has not managed to solve a single case since it was first set up in July 2014.

According to police officials, around 20 chain-snatching incidents take place in Mumbai every day, on average. The ACSU was formed under the city police’s special crime branch unit only to deal with such cases, excused from all other tasks, including bandobast duty.

Officers, including one PI, a few APIs and 20 constables, were deployed from the 12 units of the Crime Branch. Of the 25-odd cops comprising the team, the few who have reported to work are currently engaged in collecting FIRs and evidence such as CCTV footage from the police stations where the cases were reported.

According to officials, the squad has only been active since September, and will need more time before it can start showing results. Senior Police Inspector Pramod Kokate, who is heading the unit, said, “We are in the initial stages.

At present, we are collecting data such as FIRs and CCTV evidence to understand the modus operandi of the chain-snatchers. We will begin cracking cases soon.”

Official speak
Deputy commissioner of police (Detection) Mohan Dahikar said, “Since the time the squad was formed, they have been doing parallel investigations with the local police. We have been collecting data of known criminals and also intelligence about them. Whenever a chain-snatching incident is reported, the staff visits the spot. The unit is primarily equipped. We are hoping that soon a very big case of chain-snatching will be busted.”

Ill-equipped
>> The ACSU is required to handle chain-snatching cases in the entire city, which has 93 police stations
>> The unit does not have enough strength to deal with this task
>> Chain-snatchers are notoriously difficult to catch because they are usually on high-speed bikes 
>> The culprits target areas which enable easy escapes, such as narrow lanes or the western and eastern express highways
>> The anti chain-snatching unit does not even have vehicles to give chase to the miscreants 
>> Cops are currently using their own vehicles to investigate
>> No telephone, computers or wireless gear makes their job all the more difficult

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