Kerala police’s IRB unit has received national recognition

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The India Reserve Battalion (IRB) at Thrissur, a special unit of the state police that also trains commandos, has been named the best in its category among those in the southern states by the Union home ministry.
The IRB, which was established in 2010, is a reserve unit that also recruits and trains commandos, a concept that the state police adopted late in comparison to other states. Given that it competed in its category against established units like the Greyhounds of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, which were founded at least two decades before IRB, the unit’s achievement is significant.

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The unit formed two divisions with the help of the Centre: the Thunderbolt commandos, who have been fighting Maoists in the state’s jungles, and the Scorpions, who are regular members who are detailed for emergency law and order duties, VVIP security duties, anti-extremist duties, emergency natural calamity duties, and so on. The unit currently has 960 members, including 300 special operations group (SOG) members, 100 newly-carved urban commandos known as Avengers, and a 50-member team deployed for special security at Padmanabhaswamy Temple in the capital.

police's IRB
police’s IRB

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“The training programmes for IRB recruits are updated on a regular basis, and despite limited resources, we do our best to provide the best training possible. The Thunderbolts are actively engaged in jungle combing operations, while the Avengers regularly conduct reconnaissance in major cities and towns such as Kozhikode, Thrissur, Kochi, and Thiruvananthapuram “Vivek Kumar, who was the battalion’s commandant until recently and who also presented the unit’s achievements for national competition, said this.

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IRB grew as a successful training unit within a decade of its inception, carving out the unit from what used to be a Malabar Special Police detachment camp in Pandikkad. It even provided training to the Karnataka Special Task Force (KSTF), which was established in the early 1980s to apprehend notorious forest brigand Veerappan.
The training facilities have been upgraded to keep up with the growing security threats, to the point where the unit now has a sophisticated facility for detecting and disarming improvised explosive devices (IEDs). “The IED training includes an IED demonstration room where the commandos learn about 36 different types of IED trigger mechanisms, as well as an IED park with demo IEDs hidden in strategic locations that will explode if the commandos make a mistake,” said Navneet Sharma, a former commandant of the unit.

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The unit has installed solar panels to generate a significant portion of the power required for the units, which has been well received on a national level.

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