A public-police meet organised by the human social justice panel with the Panchkula police on Saturday remained a non-starter with only a handful of people from the city turning up. It appeared more like a "police grievance meet", where senior officials were seen cribbing over the fact that how they are looked down upon by public.
Also, there was no question-answer session between public and senior police officials, including commissioner of police (CP) Rajbir Dewsal and deputy commissioner of police (DCP) Ashwin Shenvi.
Deswal, while speaking on the occasion, kept stressing that people don't respect the police and want to stay miles away from them. He admitted that many in the Panchkula police lacked proper conduct and behaviour. Deswal, however, suggested no measures to improve this image of the police in the eyes of public.
Also, during the 5-7 minute talk he delivered, Deswal recited at least four couplets by different poets. However, his speech had nothing else to deliver except the fact that how common residents dread police. Deswal did not speak about any kind of reforms in the force.
When questioned that during campaigns to check drunken driving, police don't use alcometer and rather they try to smell a driver for alcohol, Deswal replied, "We don't use alcometers. Imagine a man travelling with family and he has to blow in the device. What impression will it leave on the family?"
Further, when asked as how they plan to deal with the massive staff shortage in the force, the CP said, "Proposals have been mooted in this regard and we intend to have an all-women police station in Panchkula soon."
Earlier, DCP Ashwin Shenvi tried to focus on some issues, but his stock reply was that the same can be curbed by public participation and by having more societies like the human social justice panels in place.
Shenvi added that the panel can also take feedback on the behaviour of police from women complainants and then discuss it with the senior officials. He said, "Police are criticised everywhere. Ek kush hota hai to ek nahi hota (If one person is satisfied, the other one would not). We cannot pacify everyone and thus help from public is required."
The panel members also brought forward announcements made by the police long back like appointment of senior citizens as traffic marshalls, but nothing has been done in this regard so far. They also pointed out that theft cases have increased manifold and asked for cooperation from the police. On this, Shenvi commented that the police can provide training to security guards.