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Tuesday, Sep 17, 2019

‘Soon, integrated control room, Pink Patrol bikes to make Lucknow a safe city’

lucknow Updated: Sep 13, 2019 21:51 IST



Anju Gupta, ADG, WPL-1090

1990 batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, Anju Gupta, is currently serving as additional director-general of police, Women Power Line (WPL) 1090 – an interactive voice response-based dedicated service of UP Police handling cases of violence and harassment against women.

Recently, the UP Police bagged the FICCI Smart Policing Award-2019 for the functioning of WPL. In a freewheeling talk with Saurabh Chauhan, Gupta shares her plan to make Lucknow a safe city and also discusses the challenges before WPL 1090.

Women’s safety is a big concern, how is WPL-1090 tackling the issue?

WPL 1090 has emerged as a strong organisation contributing towards the safety of women. Women in distress call us and share their ordeal. We counsel them, act on their complaint and resolve the matter. In case of crime against women where immediate police intervention is required, we mobilise UP100 and the police stations concerned. This is one part. Now, we are working on the Safe City project, which is financed by the Nirbhaya fund.

Can you elaborate about safe city project?

Safe city means accessible and responsive police. Lucknow is one of eight cities selected by the centre under this project. WPL is the nodal agency executing the project in collaboration with Lucknow police.

Recently, we received an installment of Rs 975.8 million as part of this initiative and have prepared an exhaustive plan. If we want Lucknow to become safe for women like Mumbai, people and cops should also be sensitised on the issue. Besides, Lucknow police will get an integrated smart control room, which will keep an eye on the happenings in the town with around 1,500 CCTV cameras. The control room will also have a link with CCTNS and other crime-related records so that on a single click, the database could be scanned. An app will be prepared through which women can lodge their grievances.

How will access to police be ensured?

Soon, 100 Pink Patrol two-wheelers along with 10 other such vehicles will be moving around in Lucknow as part of the Safe City project. Besides, 100 Pink Booths linked with the integrated smart control room will be set up across the city.

A vulnerability map (areas prone to crime against women) is being prepared based on the data with WPL, UP100, local police. Women in distress will have access to WPL, UP100, Pink Patrol and Pink Booths to lodge their complaints. The idea is to provide victims quick and convenient access to police.

How are cases transferred to WPL-1090 from UP100?

UP100 is for emergency services but no cases are transferred from UP100 to WPL-1090. This is where the gap needs to be bridged. However, cases that require urgent police intervention are transferred by the WPL to UP100 or some police station. On an average, we transfer 100 such complaints to UP100 in a day where the urgent police intervention is required. To bridge this gap, the application programming interface (API) integration of WPL and UP100 is on the cards.

What is the nature of crime women face?

As per stats, from January 1, 2018 to July 31, 2019, 67% of the cases were of phone bullying while 17% cases were those that required police intervention. Eight per cent of the cases pertained to cyber crime. In 2017, there were less than 4,000 cyber-bullying complaints while 18,500 cyber bullying complaints have been received till July this year.

What were the major challenges before WPL-1090?

Our challenge was to increase outreach so that more women know about us. WPL is not a typical policing organisation, it also plays the role of a counsellor. When a victim does not want her identity to be disclosed, we have to be careful. Our staff is trained in communication and has the skills to deal with emotional quotients. We did undertake measures that result in more women reaching out to us. Undoubtedly, the work burden has almost doubled. We have received more than 1.7 million complaints till July this year while almost a similar number of complaints was received last year.

As many as 100 Pink Patrol two-wheelers along with 10 other such vehicles will be moving around in Lucknow as part of the Safe City project. Besides, 100 Pink Booths linked with the integrated smart control room will be set up across the city, she says

First Published: Sep 13, 2019 21:51 IST