While you were busy ringing in the New Year, Senior inspector Arun Chavan, from the (lost) property investigation cell, Mumbai crime branch, along with 11 men, was busy fanning out at every landing point on the dimly-lit, 5-km beachfront in the Port Zone.
He was not the only policeman to spend New Year’s Eve on duty. More than 39,000 policemen were on the streets, ensuring your celebrations went on smoothly and Mumbaiites were not bothered by fidayeens or a rowdy gang of molesters.
Despite the strenuous work routine — all policemen in the city have been working on a 24X7 schedule since last week without a break — there were no complaints. “We are prepared for such a strenuous duty regime at the time of joining the force. We have been given a responsibility and it is part of our duty to discharge it,” said a head constable with the Social Service Branch (SSB).
Reports of 26/11-like terror strikes and the infamous molestation incident at Juhu led to two-fold preparedness. “On the contrary, it is the terror alert situation that made us doubly alert,” reasoned Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Operations, M J Bhoir.
Coast Guard and Customs were also roped in to patrol the sea fronts and conduct checks on boats and ships on the shoreline, to counter attacks from the sea. Quick Response Team commandos were also deployed at strategic locations and a network of closed-circuit cameras were installed to track crowd movements at important venues.
The Mumbai traffic police barricaded main and arterial roads, testing drivers for drink driving, every 2 km.
Bhoir said that keeping in mind the molestation incident at Juhu two years ago, there were a large number of plain-clothed women police constables patrolling outside five-star hotels near the beach front and the roads leading to them. Hotel managements had also been urged to employ security.
“It is a collaborated effort of the citizens and the police that ensures peace,” Bhoir said.