After the December 16 gang rape in the capital last year, the Haryana police had floated an all-women Rapid Action Force (RAF) in Gurgaon as part of a slew of initiatives to make women feel safer in the city.
The 52-strong women’s battalion, drawn from the best police cadres in the state, is the only one of its kind in the National Capital Region (NCR).
The RAF has spelled relief for the women citizens of Gurgaon — a city that is highly criticised for not only the high incidence of crime against women but also the ill-preparedness of the police force.
The RAF personnel, aged between 20 and 40 years, are deployed to engage in the round-the-clock inspection of city pockets to check incidents like harassment and misconduct.
Since its deployment in July, the battalion has been able to instill confidence among the city’s women owing to its presence in lonely stretches where women feel most vulnerable.
Working in two shifts, a special squad of the all-women RAF keeps vigil on MG Road, which is used by a large number of women employees of MNCs operating in the graveyard shift.
Also known as the Mall Mile, the road has earned the distinction of being a criminal’s haven with frequent reports of drunken brawls, sexual harassment, rape and abduction going unchecked.
However, an all-woman force for dealing crime against their own kind has come a long way in changing the status quo.
The women, who live away from their families, say that they have dedicated their time to serve the country in their own way.
Even as they work towards containing crime against women, the RAF battalion frequently find themselves in possible victims’ shoes with men in the city resorting to indecent behaviour. However, their cause and training has helped them battle the odds.
Speaking about the training imparted to the all-women force, RAF head Deputy Commissioner of Police (East) Nazneen Bhasin said, "The force is trained in martial arts and they have already got their first level of certification. They are deployed to maintain law and order, observe suspicious characters and ensure there is no physical threat to women. With the force themselves comprising females, they are confident of and well-trained to overcome the challenges."
In a bid to engage the citizens in ensuring crime-free stretches for women, the Gurgaon police has asked locals to ask for the deployment of the RAF in ‘unsafe’ zones.
"Anyone who requires RAF deployment can call 100, 1091 or DCP (East) or SMS her and the teams would be deployed at the earliest after she inspects the area and deems it fit," said Alok Mittal, Commissioner of Police, Gurgaon.