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Monday, Sep 23, 2019

Why is Mumbai police not helping you much? They don’t know the areas, language

mumbai Updated: Jul 21, 2017 15:56 IST
Debasish Panigrahi
Debasish Panigrahi
Hindustan Times

The Mumbai police are facing a peculiar problem these days.

With a majority of the staff handling the citizen’s emergency calls ( on 100 number) at the main police control room having little or no knowledge about the city’s topography, the police administration is at its’ wits end to address the situation.

The impediment is not only hampering the response (time) of the field staff to a distress situation, but it is also resulting in sending the help team on a wild goose chase at times.

Sample this. Early this week three college students frantically called the control room (100) after they were harassed by a stalker at Powai.

While the first three calls went unanswered, the operator who took the call on the fourth time started asking minute details of their location. Though the horrified girls gave as much details possible under those circumstances, no help could reach them.

It was later discovered that the call attendant at the control room mistook the location and the help team had landed at a different place.

Meanwhile, the official said that the crux of the problem lay in the unfamiliarity of the newly recruited woman constables, who have been assigned duty at the control room, with the nuances of the metropolis.

“Most of them are from far off districts with little knowledge about the city. Apart from a lack of topographical information, they are also facing communication problems,” the official added.

People in cosmopolitan Mumbai are multi lingual and speak the local language quite differently from the way it is spoken in the hinterlands. It is essential that the attendant at the control room should at least be familiar with Hindi, local Marathi, and a little bit of English, the official added. “Most of the staff knows only Marathi,” he added.

The official admitted that a replacement of the present staff with city veterans was ruled out keeping in mind their sheer numbers. “The two emergency numbers—100 and 103 (helpline for women and children)—are attended to by more than 220 women constables who work in two shifts. There are 60 lines for receiving calls made on 100 while another 15 lines are dedicated to 103,” the official said adding that following the receipt of information, alerts are sent on another 40-lines to police station/patrolling vehicles in order to rush help.

As an immediate solution to the problem, the police have started special training sessions for the control room staff to familarise them with the city. “Half an hour sessions are being organised after their duty hours. The constables are taught three things: developing inter-personal communication skills, knowledge about the city’s topography and prompt response to the calls,” the official said.

Arrangements are also being made to take the staff to various places in batches to familarise them with the city.

Sources meanwhile said that the city police top brass is in discussion with various mobile service providing companies to install caller location identification software at the control room that will help identify the caller’s position on a digital screen. “That will help us locating the caller without making him go through an arduous task of giving details about the same,” sources added.

First Published: Jul 21, 2017 12:30 IST