The initiative by Mumbai police to put up complaint boxes at various schools and colleges between Mulund and Ghatkopar has paid rich dividends.
172 complaint boxes were installed at the behest of Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone VII) Sanjay Shintre in August, and though there haven’t been many formal complaints, the number of crimes has dipped.
“We have been approached by principals of various schools and colleges in the zone, who told us that the number of eve-teasers and anti-social elements creating nuisance near the educational institutions has reduced,” Shintre told Hindustan Times.
Even principals of educational institutions in the area are pleased. Dr DG Deshpande, acting principal, Mulund College of Commerce, said, “There haven’t been any instances of eve-teasing in our college. But, since the complaint boxes were installed, they have acted as deterrents to crimes.”
According to a police official, since the children can post anonymous complaints in the boxes, they have been coming forth and complaining without any fear.
“On most occasions, troublemakers not belonging to the education institution become friendly with some students and gain entry to the institution. The complaint boxes have allowed students to complain about such people without the fear of their names becoming public,” said the official.
Gitanjali Salims, principal of St Xaviers High School and Junior College in Kanjurmarg (West), said the complaint boxes have been of great help to students of junior college. “At the school level, children are not aware of things like eve-teasing. Majority of their complaints are about minor arguments they have in the class,” added Salims.
The police, however, have also seen an interesting trend emerge from the complaints posted by students.
“We have entries wherein the students have complained about their teachers taking extra lectures or not teaching well. We pass on such complaints to the management of the education institutions, who can then look into the problem,” said Shintre
As per a plan chalked out by Shintre, students from the education institutions, where the complaint boxes have been put up, were informed in advance about the boxes.
They were told to complain about any cases of harassment, eve-teasing or ragging. After the students drop in anonymous complaints mentioning the name of the troublemaker, the local police station sends a letter to the person against whom the complaint has been registered.
In serious offences, the police have decided to register a formal complaint. Also beat marshals had been instructed to keep a check on the complaint box on a daily basis.
“Our basic aim is to ensure that small incidents are curbed before they turn into full-fledged crimes. Also, since some of the offenders are students, we do not want to spoil their name and so send letters to their parents,” said Shintre.