After deliberating for three weeks, the Mumbai police decided to launch a dedicated helpline at Crawford Market’s main police control room for receiving and registering molestation complaints and helping victims.
Calls to the help line will be conveyed immediately to the concerned police station and policemen will be dispatched.
The eight-digit, toll-free number will be announced on January 31, although there are plans to switch to a four-digit user-friendly number.
The city police was stung by criticism after HT’s exposé of the molestation of two women in Juhu during New Year celebrations and subsequent police inaction. Police Commissioner D.N. Jadhav had promised to launch a help line at the earliest.
Initially it was decided that the existing helpline (1090) at the Citizen Facilitation Centre at the police commissionerate would be used for molestation complaints as well. “However, we wanted to receive complaints directly at the control room so that the offence can be registered immediately,” said Joint Commissioner of Police (law and Order) K.L. Prasad on Wednesday.
Complaints received on 1090, Prasad said, would take time to reach the control room and hence response, too, would be delayed.
On Thursday, Thane police launched another help line to comb sexual harassment. The new help line number (25424444) was launched since many callers were unable to reach the earlier number (25443535) launched last November.
“The victim can remain anonymous while lodging a complaint on this helpline,” said Prashant Borde, additional commissioner of police, crime branch, Thane.