Decision follows complaints of harassment of women, chain-snatching

The Government Railway Police (GRP) will soon strengthen security in all Mass Rapid Transit Systems (MRTS) stations by setting up police booths, deploying policemen and roping in volunteers from Friends of Police.

The GRP has taken the decision following complaints of harassment of women and chain-snatching incidents in some stations.

Police officers say instances of chain-snatching have been recorded in Taramani, Thiruvanmiyur and Kotturpuram in the past one year. Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel, whose primary duty is to protect railway property, are posted in the stations.

Following reports of crime, the RPF closed some of the entrances in half the stations citing difficulty in monitoring all the entrances with limited staff.

“But the GRP’s role is to ensure security of the passengers. We will initially be posting two constables in each station. They will be on the move, particularly monitoring the first floors which are poorly illuminated,” said a senior GRP officer.

The GRP will also be setting up a booth at an MRTS station for the first time. “We will initially be setting up an outpost in Mandaveli station. The police presence will act as a deterrent to harassment of women, and prevent other crimes. Passengers will also feel safer,” said the officer.

The GRP is also planning to use the assistance of volunteers from Friends of Police to patrol the stations. “The personnel will be present on the platform and first floor during the peak hours. People can approach them if they have any problems,” said the officer.

Commuters feel if police presence is strengthened in the stations, miscreants will not damage railway properly or dirty the station premises. “In most stations, window panes are damaged and anti-social elements use the station as a bar. This happens despite the RPF presence,” said S. Thilagavathi, a resident of Chintadripet who uses the MRTS train service regularly.