To improve efficiency of its over 1,000 personnel pressed into VIP security duty, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has started using a computerised psychological evaluation test based on a software prepared by the DRDO, paving the way for an IT-based and upgraded assessment that is also relied upon by forces like the National Security Guard (NSG) and the Special Protection Group (SPG).
The software handed over by DRDO to CRPF is helping replace the paper-based test that has been used all these years to assess an individual’s abilities related to decision-making and handling tricky situations. The module based on the Vienna Test System (VTS) also helps assess an officer’s stress level.
“It is not something that was not happening earlier. Now, the only difference is that it is computerized. Earlier it was a written test,” said a CRPF officer, adding that the purpose is to further improve the performance of the force.
Security experts say offering protection to a dignitary is a team job and the VTS helps identify the most suitable personnel for the collective task.
Some of the top 25 dignitaries under the CRPF protection umbrella have been assigned Z-plus security. Former Prime Ministers are entitled to such security till 10 years after leaving office. The CRPF is now also responsible for the security of Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi, Rahul and Priyanka. Their threat perception was assessed after former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination in 1991 and were given SPG protection. The responsibility was handed over to CRPF in 2019.
The DRDO software used in the test is called the Computerised Psychological Screening System (COPSYSS). It has been prepared by the Defence Institute of Psychological Research (DIPR) of DRDO. The test helps the CRPF analyse an officer’s mind which, in addition to the requirements related to physical fitness, helps the force ensure that the best men are picked for the sensitive assignment.
The DIPR handed over the software to CRPF in August. DIPR director Arunima Gupta highlighted that the user-friendly COPSYSS was conceptualised, specific modalities of test administration were evolved and standardised after a series of interactions, field trials, on-site evaluations by DIPR in synergy with a CRPF team.
The CRPF provides static and mobile security to VIP protectees. Z-plus advanced security liaison (ASL) is the second highest level of protection after SPG cover. Personnel of the SPG have been undergoing the VTS for at least 15 years, and the NSG switched to VTS in 2017. Earlier, NSG commandos had to undergo the Military Psychology Test developed by the DRDO.
The CRPF’s VIP protection wing gives personnel for providing security to dignitaries under two categories—Z and Z-plus. The dignitaries under CRPF protection include former President, former Prime Minister, Home Minister Amit Shah and prominent Opposition leaders from the Gandhi family.