Young visitors at the women’s police station in Sector 51 will no longer have to witness quarrelling families, wailing parents and injured victims. The police station now has a two-room ‘Phulwari’ complete with toys, puzzles and a nanny to ensure children do not get affected by their murky surroundings.
“Kids often accompany adults to the police station and find the surroundings traumatizing,” said ACP Dharna Yadav. “A number of times, children themselves are the victims and in a traditional police station, they find it difficult to tell us what happened. The play area is meant to provide a friendly environment, which engages them and lets them relax,” she added.
Phulwari, which will also double as a crèche for children of police personnel, has been provided a separate entry separating it from the main police station section. The rooms, which were once the office of a senior official, have been painted with colourful motifs and stocked with story books, art and craft material, puzzles and toys to engage children between 3 to 12 years of age. “The colours are crucial as they help children express their deepest thoughts, pain and sadness,” Yadav said.
The area will be overseen by two full-time trained woman constables, besides a nanny.
Officials say about 8-10 children walk into the station daily with couples facing marital discord. “A number of children who come with their parents are teenagers and understand what is happening. For the time that they are here, they can also be in Phulwari and use their time creatively,” Yadav said. The police station also uses the voluntary service of a ceramic artist to engage children through pottery.
Gurgaon police personnel, who are on 24-hour duty, will be able to use this place for their children up to seven years of age. “Kids of police officials can also stay here and even spend a few days if the parent is on duty,” said Yadav.
Inspector Kailash, SHO of the women police station, said that Phulwari will be operational 24 hours and children will be given good quality food as well. “Children who want to sleep can do so during the day as there are cots and supervisors will be working full time,” she says.
Gurgaon Police claim that this is the first child-friendly police station in Haryana. Officials say the project received support of 400 women police officials of the force, many of whom also contributed in setting up the area. The art and craft material, particularly colours, brushes, and easel has been donated by the staff.
Inaugurated on February 14 by Gurgaon police commissioner Sandeep Khirwar, the play area-cum-creche will also have facilities to counsel children. “Children, whether they are victims or they visit the police station with their parents, need special care and attention. They need friends, who listen to them and care for them. This is why such a space has been created,” said Khirwar.