The Counter Terrorism (CT) unit of Chattogram Metropolitan Police (CMP) is failing to act promptly during emergencies due to shortage of vehicles.
The only vehicle it has is a 12-seater microbus which, during operations, cannot carry the three crucial teams of the unit: Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team, Crisis Response Team (CRT) and the bomb disposal unit.
CMP launched the counter-terrorism unit in November last year with an aim to expedite fight against militancy in the port city.
The Motor Transport Department provides vehicles to the unit for pre-scheduled programmes. But during emergencies, the unit suffers because the microbus cannot carry the three teams at a time, said sources at CMP.
Moreover, the bomb disposal team and SWAT team need to be well-equipped during emergency operations. They need to carry heavy tools, they told this correspondent.
CMP officials said the CT unit had great achievements in curbing militancy across Chattogram, but it was working with a number of limitations.
In Dhaka, there were several specialised vehicles for the Counter Terrorism unit but CMP CT has only one microbus, they said.
The unit has informed the Police Headquarters (PQ) about the transport crisis.
“A letter was sent to the PQ via the commissioner's office lately. We have asked for two police vans for the bomb disposal and SWAT teams,” said Polash Kanti Nath, additional deputy commissioner (operation) of CMP CT.
Wishing not to be named, an official of the Motor Transport Department told this correspondent that the bomb disposal team was late by an hour to reach the scene during the Bangladesh Biman hijack attempt on January 24.
It was a sudden call and MT could not provide transport immediately. The team finally could move an hour later when transportation was arranged, the official told this paper.
An official from the SWAT team said, “It is tough to sit inside the microbus with safety gears on. Moreover, the microbus is not suitable for carrying heavy instruments like shields, breaching tools, and ladders.”
Mohammed Shahidullah, deputy commissioner of CMP's CT unit, said, “We are working despite the limitations. The unit was formed only a few months ago. We should be able to fix the problems shortly.”