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Delhi police’s friendly makeover: Public Facilitation Officers at your service now

The force is introducing public facilitation officers, or PFOs, to make grievance redressal easier for city residents, and to help them approach law without getting intimidated.

delhi Updated: Apr 28, 2018 15:37 IST
Ruchika Garg
Ruchika Garg
Hindustan Times
Delhi Police,Madhur Verma,DCP
Delhi Police’s public facilitation officers — constables trained in soft skills — will have beautiful saris from Benaras, for their uniform. (Manoj Verma/ HT )

This is a room full of sharply-dressed police officers, brimming with eagerness for better public service. A training program is in progress. “What should we do when we are approached by a rude complainant?” asks constable Aarti, part of the program.

“The mantra to winning people’s confidence is to be calm and composed. In the service sector we say that the customer is always right. And maybe you can apply this to your field, as well, since you deal with people,” replies trainer Shobha Ghai, enlisted by Delhi Police to impart soft skills to a group of women who are to be appointed Public Facilitation Officers (PFOs).

“The PFO will be the first person who will be interacting with the visitors. This is an attempt to help people get rid of this sense of fear and hesitation they have towards the police. It is important to put an end to that feeling as well as make the whole experience of approaching the police more comfortably,” explains Madhur Verma, Deputy Commissioner of Police, New Delhi. “So, when someone walks into a police station, they will be helped by a PFO, who will guide the complainant on how to go about filing a complaint or who to approach when they need help,” he adds.

Understandably, the initiative has gladdened constables like Aarti. Set to take over as PFO at the Parliament Street Police Station, she says, “There are situations where we have to deal with angry complainants, and we tend to lose our temper with them. In this training, we learnt to tackle such issues. Generally also, the tips are useful and will help us in the long run, too.”

Police stations in the New Delhi district have already got a minimum of two PFOs, working in eight-hour shifts on rotational basis. “We have selected 18 constables and senior constables. These were police personnel who were interested in the job, and had an aptitude for it,” shares Verma. Interestingly, these officers won’t wear drab police uniforms, but beautiful saris sourced from Benaras.

A complainant talks to the Public Facilitation Officer at the Parliament Street Police Station in the Capital. ( Manoj Verma/HT  )

Instructor Ghai feels that the training has filled a gap. “The police training is the formal part of the work, but the informal training that includes soft skills and handling of the public is amiss. To empower these officers with those skills is my role here — to train them in public dealing; how to help without being rude with unfriendly visitors. It will definitely add more to the image of Delhi Police,” says Ghai.

And constable Rachna agrees, “Before this training, I never bothered about my looks but now I know how important it is to, and that it adds to the whole persona. You leave an impression on the visitors with your looks and speech. The training is really helpful.”

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First Published: Apr 28, 2018 15:36 IST