In this information age, the Maharashtra and the Mumbai police seems to be on a drive to catch up with the trend, or even set a trend for the police in the rest of the country. Good news for the press (or bad?)— no more scrambling for the all important “quotes” of senior policemen that gives a stamp of authenticity to any information.
By the end of this month, the state and the Mumbai police will be allotted two ‘professional’ public relation officers (PROs) who will do the talking for the department on issues ranging from crime, law and order to a conscious image building of the force. Nevertheless, this is perhaps for the first time in the country that such an arrangement has been made for a state/city civilian force.
Only central agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI) and the Defence forces are at present, being accorded with such a privilege. As per the present arrangement, the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations) does the additional duty as the PRO for the Mumbai police while the Director General of Police (DGP) office does not have a PRO.
State Director General of Police (DGP), Dr PS Pasricha told HT on Monday that the state government had given sanctions for two permanent posts of PROs for the state and Mumbai police. While the state level police PRO will be attached to the DGP’s office, the PRO for Mumbai police will be attached to the Mumbai police commissioner. Dr Pasricha said that he had urged the government to allot two officials from the Director General Information and Public Relations (DGIPR) on deputation, to begin with. “We had to make the request as we could not find the suitable persons who can handle the task in the beginning,” Pasricha added.
However, that arrangement will be temporary. Once the police department finds their suitable match, the permanent arrangement will be made, he added.
Elaborating their functions, Dr Pasricha said that their primary task would be to interact with the press on a regular basis to decessimate information collected from across the state.“At the same time, care will be taken to build the image of the police as well as meet the expectations of the people,” he added.
Pasricha said the PROs would also convey the constraints faced by the policemen and also the good work done by them which deserved appreciation. “Essentially they will serve as platforms for assimilation and dessimation of information,” he added.
At a later stage when the system stabilizes, the PROs would also be engaged in the intra-departmental services of the force, which the DGP refused to elaborate.
Would that mean the DGP and the Mumbai police commissioner will become out of bounds of the press? “Not at all. We will certainly be available for important issues. But for the day-to-day matters, the PROs will be doing the needful,” Dr. Pasricha quipped.
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