How Uttarakhand’s 3,000 special police officers are emerging as ‘hands and eyes’ in Covid fight
The special police officers (SPOs) appointed from civil society are turning out to be a big help to the state police in enforcing the ongoing lockdown in a stringent way. According to the state police, SPOs are emerging as “additional hands and eyes” in the state’s fight against the Covid-19 epidemic.
The SPOs were appointed by the state police about two weeks ago especially to implement the lockdown norms in the containment zones of the state. They were selected from the people living in those areas where they are now deployed.
At present, there are more than 3,000 SPOs across the state. The major districts where they have been deployed include US Nagar, Haridwar, Nainital and Dehradun which all have witnessed increasing cases of Covid-19 and where containment zones have been declared.
Among the aforementioned four districts, US Nagar has deployed about 1,300 SPOs which are mainly at the border areas with neighbouring Uttar Pradesh to keep a check on people trying to sneak in.
“We have a 171 km long border with UP in which we identified about 125 points through which people can enter or go out. We have deployed the majority of the SPOs in those areas because with the given conditions it is not possible for the district police to man those points 24 hours,” said Barinderjit Singh, senior superintendent of police(SSP), US Nagar.
Singh said, “As the SPOs are from those areas only, they are well aware of the topography and know who has come from outside. They accordingly inform us for further action. Apart from the border areas, they are also being deployed in the containment zones to implement the norms of lockdown.”
Senthil Avoodai K Raj, SSP Haridwar while lauding the contribution of SPOs, termed them as additional hands and eyes of the regular police.
Senthil said, “As they are among the residents of the same society, they act as a bridge between police and the public of the area where they are deployed. In Haridwar district, they are mainly deployed in containment zones to ensure home quarantine and social distancing.”
He said, “They also inform the police about any issues faced by the people of an area for required action.”
Ashok Kumar, director general (law & order) Uttarakhand police said, the SPOs are very helpful to the regular police in enforcing the lockdown.
“They are appointed as per a provision in the Police Act. However, they are not paid any remuneration. It is a completely voluntary service for about 3 to 4 hours a day. They are a big help to the state police in enforcing the lockdown properly,” said Kumar.