Equipment for Law Enforcement for Minimum Invasive Violence

Modern day law enforcement personnel have to operate in a more transparent society with increasingly complex laws of the land which include human rights where they are subject to greater accountability

Issue: 4 / 2019By Lt General Naresh Chand (Retd)Photo(s): By PepperBall
PepperBall is a versatile and powerful non-lethal technology available today

Law Enforcement Agencies in India are generally of two types – those controlled by the centre and those which are under the state. In all types of internal security crisis, these agencies are the first respondents thus play a very critical and vital role in maintaining internal security. All the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF), Special Protection Group, Central Investigation and Intelligence organisations, and Central Forensic Institutions come under the Ministry of Home Affairs at the Centre. The state police and its various branches like intelligence unit, commando unit, river police etc. perform law enforcement role in the state and are controlled by their respective states. This organisation model is similar to US, Indonesia, Mexico, Spain and many more.

Equipment Profile

The equipment will depend upon the role and threat pattern. In India the main threat is terrorism/low intensity conflict operations in J&K, terrorism in other states and Left Wing Extremism (LWE). Thus the organisations which perform active/offensive role like CAPF, Special Protection Group and National Security Guard will require equipment tailor made to their role. Other agencies like customs, narcotics, investigation, intelligence and forensics will have equipment suited to their role. Similarly the state law enforcing agencies will have equipment as per their role and threat. The equipment can be divided into various categories as follows:

  • Hard kill or lethal weapons. Hard kill weapons will include pistols or side arms, close quarter battle weapons and rifles including sniper rifles. These weapons will be fitted with suitable sighting systems for day and night depending upon the type of weapon.
  • Soft Power Systems. These will include taser, Pepper Ball, Pepper spray, Tear gas, Rubber bullets, Pellet guns and some other types of sprays, stun grenades.
  • Support Systems. Key support systems are:
    • Body Armour
    • UAVs
    • Body Cameras
    • Modern communications including voice, data and mobile
    • GPS tracker
    • Ballistic Shield for urban missions
    • Robots for clearing bomb, mines, explosives and bobby traps
    • Day and night surveillance devices
    • Narcotic identification devices e.g. required for BSF on the Punjab border due to heavy drug smuggling from Pakistan
    • Cameras and other special systems for K9(dogs)
    • Body apparel which can include special gloves, boots, helmets etc.

Hard kill

Details of some types of pistols or side arms are given below:

Glock 19. During 1988 Glock introduced the Glock 19 which became popular for its lightweight design. It was an improved version of Glock 17 which was small enough to be concealed. Glock 19 has about four inches smaller barrel and is overall about seven inches (about 17.78 cm) shorter. This model is ideal for carrying weapons undercover. Inspite of reduction in size it still has a magazine of 15 rounds.

Glock 22. The Glock 22 looks similar to Glock 19 but it is slightly longer and heavier but has become very popular with both military and police as it packs more power. It can shoot both 9mm and 0.40 calibre ammunition.

Military & Police (M&P) 9. The M&P 9 has a Picatinny rail under the muzzle that allows officers to install all types of custom accessories that include laser sights and flashlights. Its weight is 0.7 kg, muzzle velocity of 370m/sec and range of 50m. It can accommodate left-handed officers with ambidextrous controls. It also offers small upgrades for safety such as the loaded chamber indicator. It is in service in about 23 countries including India.

Beretta Model 92. It was introduced in 1975. It is constructed out of a lightweight aluminium alloy that is comparable to the one used for aircrafts and has the open-side design that Beretta is noted for. Because of its design it is one of the most durable guns available. The M9 Beretta pistol is also a standard Army sidearm which has replaced the M1911A1 pistol in .45 calibre. The 92FS version is a double/single-action semiautomatic pistol that employs an open-slide, short-recoil delayed locking-block system, which yields a faster cycle time. There is a lighter version named 92SB. Beretta has also released an automatic model called 92C during 1990.

Sig Sauer P226. The Sig Sauer P226 was designed as an upgrade to the P220. Its original intent was for use by the military officers. It has a larger capacity than its predecessors at 15 rounds. It also has an ambidextrous catch that makes it a favourite among left-handed officers. Its action is mechanically locked and recoil operated with 10/12/13/15-round magazine. The extended barrel provides extra accuracy, which is the main reason why agents from the FBI, US Coast Guard, and Navy SEALS all favour the Sig Sauer P226.

HK45. HK45 is a versatile and powerful firearm. This gun was designed for the military, which means that it has been intensively tested for accuracy, power, and durability. The accessory rail allows it to add laser sights and silencers. This is a big reason why it’s a favoured firearm for covert operations. Another reason the HK45 is favoured is its recoil reduction technology.

M1911. The original M1911 was designed in 1911 and was the standard sidearm of the US military from 1911 to 1986. Over this time period, close to 3 million M1911s were made. It is .45 calibre and semi-automatic, which is why it was such a favourite for so long.

Colt M4 Carbine. The Colt M4 Carbine is mainly for Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) divisions who face some of the most dangerous situations and criminals a policeman can face. This gun was designed for soldiers who needed an assault rifle that performed well at close range and was shorter, lighter, and became a mobile version of the M16. This gas-operated gun has both single fire and automatic option. It also offers custom add-on capabilities like scopes, lasers, and night vision devices. This is a great option for law enforcement agencies to keep on hand for when the worst case scenario unfolds.

Remington 870. One of the most favoured shotguns is the Remington 870. Each gun undergoes a 23 station check to ensure every component is up to standard. Its length varies from 946mm to 1,280mm and weighs 2.2 to 2.6 kg. It has pump action and various scopes can be mounted on it.

Soft Power Systems

  • Taser. A non-lethal weapon that fires two small barbed darts intended to puncture the skin and remain attached to the target. The darts through their connection to an electric source, deliver electric current to disrupt voluntary control of muscles, causing “neuromuscular incapacitation.” The effects may only be localised pain or strong involuntary long muscle contractions, based on the type of Taser system used.
  • Pepper Ball. A pepper-spray projectile, also called a pepper-spray ball, pepper-ball or pepper-spray pellet is a frangible projectile containing a powdered chemical that irritates the eyes and nose in a manner similar to pepper spray. These projectiles are fired from specially designed forced compliance weapons or modified paintball guns. PepperBall is a versatile and powerful non-lethal technology available today. It is proven effective at ranges up to 150 feet (about 45 m).
  • Tear Gas. Since its effects were short lasting and not lethal thus was adapted by law enforcing agencies for dispersing mobs etc. Tear gas is a group of substances that irritate the mucous membranes of the eyes, causing a stinging sensation and tears.
  • Stun grenade. A stun grenade, also known as a flash grenade or flashbang, is an non-lethal explosive device, used for temporarily disorienting a person’s senses. It is designed to produce a blinding flash of light of around seven million candela and an intensely loud “bang” of greater than 170 decibels.
  • Rubber/Plastic bullets. Also known as baton rounds, rubber bullets either made from, or coated with, rubber or plastic to cause pain but minimise serious injury. In 1972, a shorter, lighter, more accurate version with a PVC outer layer, known as the plastic bullet, was developed, and it was first used in 1973. It fully replaced the rubber bullet by the mid-70s, and could be fired directly at a person, however they proved even more dangerous than the rubber bullets at short range.

Support Systems

They have already have been mentioned above and do not need much explanation:

UAVs. They are quickly catching up and the most popular are UAVs like Quadcopter fitted with optical, zoom and/or thermal cameras for surveillance, snooping and to acquire proof that law is being broken. The stealth and reach of a UAVs is phenomenal thus 347 law enforcing agencies in the US employ them.

Foliage penetrating radar

This is essential for heavily wooded areas where the LWE operate. SRC a US company has developed both airborne and groundbased radars that can detect moving targets through dense foliage. Israel Aerospace Industries has unveiled its ELM-2112FP- persistent surveillance foliage penetration radar.

Indian Perspective

The standard equipment for a constable on their beat is the lathi normally made of bamboo but recently polymer ones have been introduced. The riot police have numerous other equipment which includes tear gas, tasers etc.

Indian police generally use a Pistol Auto 9mm 1A or a Glock 17. The other fire arms are 7.62 1A Self Loading Rifles, and SAF Carbine 2A1s which now have been replaced by AK-47 and INSAS rifles. Some special units in the state and CAPF use automatic weapons such as AK-47, AKM, INSAS assault rifles and Bren guns. Police special forces and SWAT units use Heckler and Koch MP5s, Brügger and Thomet MP9s, AK-103s, and M4A1 Carbines and many more.