Lucknow: In a bid to spruce up the force and boost its mobility, the Uttar Pradesh police will finally do away with .303 rifles of the colonial era and equip its personnel with pistols and revolvers.
"Police had been using .303 rifles since British period. But with the changing crime pattern, it was felt that these rifles have become outdated," Deputy Inspector General of Police (Lucknow Range) Navneet Sikera told PTI.
Apart from being outdated, these weapons are also too heavy to carry, he said.
"A rifle weighs around six kgs and carrying it is a tedious job. For instance, if a personnel is deployed on 12 hours duty, then he is supposed to carry this much weight all the time along with ammunition," Sikera said.
Keeping these factors in view, it has been decided to equip the force with modern weapons which are more handy and easy to carry, he said.
"Carrying a pistol or revolver is not only handy, but also increases the mobility of a personnel, specially in case of sudden encounter with criminals as he is not required to load the rifle," he said.
The DIG said initially 2,500 pistols and revolvers have been demanded which would be received in a day or two. The weapons would be mix of `Glock 17` and `Browning`.
"At present, there are 5,500 personnel in Lucknow police force. Considering 12 hours duty the new weapons would be given on rotation on the basis of duty hours," he said.
Sikera said that once the pistols were received, one week training would be imparted to the personnel.
"We will review the results of the first phase of the project in the next one to two months based on which it will be implemented across the state," he said.
He said that till now only officers of sub-inspector or above rank used to get pistols or revolvers and it would be the first time when lower rank personnel would be carrying these weapons.
Constable Gajendra Singh Yadav said that lighter weapon would increase the efficiency of the force.
"It will be easy for us to move in the field and will improve policing," he said.