The city police issued an order on Wednesday that said traffic sergeants on night duty will have to mandatorily carry arms.
The city traffic police used to carry arms till 2011. After that, the practice was discontinued as a precaution following incidents of police’s arms being looted by suspected CPI Maoist cadres in the districts, said an officer in Lalbazar.
In February 2010, an Eastern Frontier Rifle (EFR) camp in Silda, Paschim Medinipur, was attacked and police arms were looted by Maoists, killing 24 EFR personnel.
Earlier in October 2009, Maoists had attacked Sankrail police station in Paschim Medinipur, robbed a police armoury and kidnapped the then officer-in-charge of the police station, Atindranath Dutta.
“Following incidents of snatching of police weapons, all traffic cops who are most exposed on the roads were asked to deposit their arms to the local police station’s armoury. They have been performing duty without arms since then,” the officer said.
Another officer said recently, there were discussions about reviewing the situation and re-introducing arms for the cops on duty.
The order issued from the traffic control room on Wednesday said: “As approved by Ld. Commissioner of Police, Kolkata, Traffic Sergeants and preferably Night Officers should carry side arms while performing duty. They will collect Arms and Ammunitions from Local Police Stations where the Arms and Ammunitions of the concerned TP Guards had been deposited earlier. OCs of Traffic Guard should ensure this.”
A senior officer said: “Night sergeants are the first responders to any law and order situation or big incident that happens at night and hence need to carry weapons.”
On Sunday, a man riding pillion on a motorcycle was arrested for threatening to shoot a traffic sergeant near Behala.
The sergeant had stopped the two-wheeler and was prosecuting the rider for not wearing a helmet.
A search was conducted but no arms had been found on him.