Understaffed and stressed, the police hit upon the idea of deploying 40 college students to control crowds

The city witnessed its first contingent of “student police” when 40 youngsters from two city colleges got a chance to play real-life policemen for a while.

Managing the huge turnout of devotees at the ‘Vaikasi Visagam’ festival held at Thiruparankundram Subramanian Swamy temple proved to be a rare learning experience for the students.

The police are overstretched when it comes to crowd management in the Temple City. Understaffed and stressed, the police hit upon the idea of deploying 40 boys from Saraswathi Narayanan College and Sourashtra College to regulate traffic and manage the crowds at the Vaikasi Visagam held on Friday.

This allowed the police to focus on crime prevention and maintenance of law and order. The students were taught how to behave with the general public. A pre-deployment briefing was done with respect to traffic regulation. Superintendent of Police V. Balakrishnan said students were positioned at Sasti Mandapam, Sannidhi Street, Kudirai Padikattu, free darshan queue and Kambathadi Mandapam. Students were rotated in their duties so that they did not complain of fatigue.

As a result, Mr. Balakrishnan said with pride, police were able to contain routine crimes such as chain snatching during Vaikasi Visagam.

Recalling the just concluded ‘Panguni Uthiram’ festival, where seven cases of chain snatching were registered and about 30 sovereigns reported missing.

Customarily, during temple festivals that draw around one lakh devotees, law breakers impersonate devotees to commit offences.

This time around, the police kept their eyes peeled on the CCTVs and other gadjets to track the movement of the public.When it was over, the students were grateful to the police for the chance to gain hands-on experience in policing.

More In: Madurai