Mumbai police plan crackdown after rise in attacks on personnel
In the first four months of 2019, the city witnessed at least seven instances of attacks on police officers while on duty. Of these, five were reported in April. From sensitising police personnel on how to deal with citizens to promising the “strictest action”, police are now undertaking multiple measures to counter these attacks.
The first such major incident in recent public memory took place in August 2016, when traffic head constable Vilas Shinde was murdered by two youngsters, after he pulled them up for riding a two-wheeler without a licence at SV Road in Khar (West). Following a lull in 2017, there has been a spate of such attacks since 2018, as per reports.
Explaining a probable reason behind the rise in such cases, city-based psychiatrist Sagar Mundada said, “A [police] uniform makes no difference to people who are impulsive and lack self-control. When people think they can get away with something, they don’t bother who is in front of them.” Other psychiatrists have cited intoxication as a cause for such behaviour.
Meanwhile, former deputy general of police (DGP) D Sivanandan cited the rising number in pendency of court cases to suggest that citizens no longer fear the law. “At least one on-duty cop in the team must be armed as a precaution to avoid such instances from getting out of hand.”
According to police, the force has now taken to a ‘zero-tolerance’ policy to crack down on such incidents. From building a watertight case against the accused to alerting the accused’s employer, police officers are being briefed on how to handle such cases. Vinoy Kumar Choubey, joint commissioner of police (law and order), said, “These incidents will not be tolerated. Any individual found taking law in their hands will face strictest action.”
“We will ensure that the accused in such cases are arrested and not granted bail for frivolous reasons. Other measures include informing the accused’s employer, writing to concerned authorities to cancel his or her driving licence, and giving an adverse report during background verification for passports and other documents,” said a senior officer said.
A traffic policeman said staff members have been instructed to take photos or videos of drivers violating traffic rules. Meanwhile, police officers are also working on building a better rapport with the public. “Our supervisory officers regularly sensitise their subordinates,” the senior officer said. “In order to improve police-pubic rapport, sincere efforts should be made right from recruitment. Special workshop should be organised to develop soft skills, particularly with regard to communication,” said another former DGP Praveen Dixit.