Mumbai Police Were Outgunned

Police relied on First World War-era weapons
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 3, 2008 1:47 AM CST

(Newser) – Police in Mumbai were armed with weapons designed as long ago as World War I to battle terrorists brandishing sophisticated  AK47 automatic rifles, reports the Times of London. The alarming disparity in arms explains why a handful of terrorists was able to paralyze the city and inflict so many casualties. Some of the 16 officers killed in the battle wore plastic helmets and body armored designed to guard against hurled rocks, not bullets.

“They couldn’t take rounds from an AK47 or AK56. The bullets pierced the jackets,” said a retired police official. "If they’d been properly equipped they might have only been injured." Other officials also criticized poor weapons training and police understaffing in the nation, where an average of 126 officers protect 100,000 residents, less than a quarter of the manpower levels in some Western countries.