Muggers on mopeds in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, face a dramatic new challenge in the shape of Karachi police department’s new rollerblade squad.
Farrukh Ali Lanjhar, chief of the unit, explaining that the armed officers on rollerblades were uniquely well-equipped to chase thieves on motorcycles through the seaport city’s crowded streets.
“We felt we needed to come up with an innovative approach to control street crime,” he explained.
He added that while some areas of the city would remain off-limits due to the poor road conditions and uneven footpaths, central areas where the highest rates of street crime were recorded were ideal for the rollerblade patrols.
“Foot patrolling is an extremely tedious job,” he said. “Roller-skates will give us an edge to chase and apprehend (criminals).
Aneela Aslam, one of the new rollerblade cops, told Reuters: “This is just the beginning, this rollerblading will really benefit us.
“With this training, we can reach narrow alleys very quickly where it is usually difficult to go.”
There are ten men and ten women commandos on the team.
Officer Aslam told Arab News Pakistan that she’s very proud of having been selected to be part of the team and was pleased for the opportunity to prove that police women were just as capable as their male colleagues.
While some had expressed concerns after early publicity videos showed the 20-strong rollerblade squad carrying heavy weapons, Mr Ali said that on everyday operations his new rollerblade squad would only carry pistols which would cut down on the likelihood of ricochets injuring innocent bystanders.
“Seeing them here in clean uniforms since the morning gives us a sense of security, as even in daytime, [bag-snatching] occurs here,” said pedestrian Muhammad Azeem.
Not everyone’s convinced though. Twitter user Muhammad Saqib Ilyas asked “Is this a joke or a publicity stunt? What happens if they need to do a plain old run?”