Following the nation-wide outcry over police inaction in the Delhi gang rape case, the Maharashtra government announced it would set up a Women’s Offences Wing (WOW) to deal with serious offences against women in police commissionerates (cities) across the state.
This is part of the police’s endeavour to ensure the safety of women in rural areas by easing the process of registering their complaints. The director general of police (DGP) office has issued instruction to police stations in rural areas to create a separate desk for woman.
Inspector General of Police (IGP), law and order, Deven Bharti told HT that the special desk for women at the police stations would be called the “women’s desk”.
“It has been observed that women in rural areas are afraid to approach police stations despite having been subjected to harassment. This may be because they are not comfortable talking about the incident before male officers,” Bharti said. This is why the police would be setting up a separate desk for complaints of this nature.
He said each women’s desk will have a woman police constable to assist the victim in registering the complaint. “The constables part of this desk will be in a separate room, making it easier for the victim to open up about her problem or complaint. While the woman police constable will accompany the victim so as to make her feel free, the complaint will be registered by an officer,” Bharati said. This official need not necessary be a woman, he said.
The mobile phone number of the woman police constable attached with the women’s desk would be displayed prominently at (and outside) the police stations, Bharti added.
Initially, the police had planned to give women officers charge of the women’s desk. However, because of the shortage of women police officers in the state, officials decided to post at least one woman police constable to every police station in rural areas to handle the women’s desk.
Also, if a victim does not want to visit the police station to register her complaint, the officer will go to a place of her choice to take her complaint. The officer will be accompanied by a woman police constable.