An effort to study how policemen behave with complainants

A man walks into the Perungudi police station with a motorbike missing complaint. Since the sub-inspector of police is not available, the station writer asks him to come again with his brother at 6 p.m. The complainant complies with the instruction, and comes back after an hour.

The poor complainant is asked to come again the next day, because he is late.

This kind of apathetic response from the police personnel to a complainant could happen at any police station any day.

But, in this incident, little did the police personnel know that it was a decoy sent by the Madurai Superintendent of Police V. Balakrishnan.

He sent decoys not only to the Perungudi police station, but all the 44 police stations in the rural district to find how the policemen behave with the complainants.

At another station, two special sub-inspectors available there tried to hurriedly walk out of station under the pretext of some urgent work, obviously to avoid the complainant.

Though there was not specific complaint against the police about non-registration of complaints, Mr. Balakrishnan said, he opted for sending decoys to find out how responsive the police were to complaints.

“If there are any lacunae, we can set them right. We can also reduce the response time and improve the service delivery for the benefit of the common man through time-to-time instructions and proper monitoring,” Mr. Balakrishnan said.

The SP said that the new recruits, especially the sub-inspectors of police on probation and a deputy superintendent of police on training, were prompt in taking action on the complaints.

However, he said, asking the complainants to turn up with original papers of the ‘missing’ motorbikes, which many had resorted to, was to find out whether the complaint was real or the recovery agents had taken them away for non-payment of dues.

Stating that over 75 per cent of the police responded promptly, he added only the remaining tried to evade the complainants.

Though no penal action was taken, Mr. Balakrishnan said that he was able to instil a sense of fear among the erring police personnel that they could be surprised with similar operations in the future too.

“Next time, they are caught, they will be taken to task,” he added.

More In: Madurai