Chandigarh, Dec 30 (PTI) Amid cases of smuggling of weapons and drugs with hep of drones from across the border, the Punjab government has decided to enhance the counter terrorism capacity of its police force.

The state government also decided to establish a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to augment its technological capacity.

Part of the restructuring changes approved for the Punjab Police Department on Wednesday by the state cabinet, the SPV will work on establishing a unified communication network of senior police and civil officers besides undertaking the development and deployment of an online intelligence sharing platform, an official statement said here.

The chief minister, who will be the chairman of the SPV, has been authorised by the cabinet to take further necessary steps to establish the SPV at the earliest possible.

Given the growing criticality of technology in policing as well as crime control and detection, it has been decided to give the SPV the flexibility to hire experts and consultants in various frontline areas of police technology.

According to DGP Dinkar Gupta, the SPV will also work on setting up a network of databases about arms, arms licence holders, arms dealers, vehicles, suspects and passports.

In addition, the SPV has been envisaged as a vehicle for the creation of a real-time crime centre, involving mining of data analytic applications, integrated with current databases to allow for more proactive responses and achieve operational objectives of the state police, he said.

It will be further tasked with finding a solution for enabling proper information storage, collation, analysis, sharing and retrieval of data.

The decision to set up the SPV comes amid growing attempts by Pakistan-based forces to revive terrorism in the state, as evident from the number of arrests and seizures made this year. As of December 28, Punjab has witnessed the arrest of 66 terrorists with 12 modules busted in 2020, he said.

Seven drones have been captured, while 21 hand grenades, four rifles and 28 revolvers/pistols/mousers have been recovered since January 1 this year, the DGP said.

As part of Police Department restructuring, the cabinet gave approval for setting up of sexual assault response teams (SARTs).

SARTs of the Punjab Police will swoop down on perpetrators of sexual crimes against women.

It has also been decided to set up family counselling units in all districts to handle crime cases against children and vulnerable groups, the statement said.

While the smaller districts would have one team/unit each, the bigger ones would have more, DGP Dinkar Gupta said, adding that these teams will be created by re-designating and re-training police officials for specialized functions.

In a bid to empower the women-headed households in the state, the cabinet gave go ahead to implement Mata Tripta Mahila Yojna.

Punjab has 54,86,851 households according to the 2011 Census, of which 7,96,030 are headed by women.

The underlying objective of this pro-women initiative is to reach out to all needy women-headed households in the state so as to provide services/benefits and ensure their rights with regard to healthcare, education, employment, safety and dignity in all spheres of life.