It is part of ‘gender policing’, to be launched by month end in West Godavari

The SHG women are poised to get into the shoes of police in West Godavari district soon. Wearing a badge and an identity card on their persons, the SHG women in khaki uniform will be seen in police stations hereafter, receiving the women petitioners with hospitality and assisting the police in handling grievances relating to gender crimes.

The district administration and the police department are jointly fine-tuning a pilot project on ‘gender policing’ for launching by Director of General of Police V. Dinesh Reddy within month end in the district. The district administration will facilitate participation of the SHG women on the Social Action Committees (SACs) in the policing under the novel project named “Stree Sakti’ and the police department set up reception counters in the respective police stations for the SHG women in new roles. As a prelude to the launching of the project, training programmes were conducted in all the four revenue divisions in the district on Tuesday involving SAC leaders. They were sensitised on the functions they were expected to discharge in their new ‘avatar’. Shortly they will receive handbooks on gender laws also.

Pilot project

According to Superintendent of Police M. Ramesh, 21 police stations, including those located in the nine municipal towns in the district, were chosen for the launch of the pilot project and gender desks will be provided in those select police stations. The initiative would be extended to all the 65 police stations in a phased manner in the near future, he informed. The SP expressed the hope the new initiative would go a long way for the police in preventing crime against women, effective implementation of gender laws and checking the mushrooming belt shops (illegal liquor outlets) and incidence of gambling with the help of the SHG women.

Collector G. Vanimohan, who was instrumental in conceiving the project, said the SAC women would be assigned to perform the duties of police once in a week in their nearest police stations. The move, she said, intended to give a ‘gender face’ to the policing. It was observed that the women approaching the police for an outlet to get their grievances redressed were not treated properly for want of gender sensitiveness in the police ranks, Ms. Vani said. Given the laudable role of SACs in solving gender crimes beyond the legal framework, it might not be a difficult proposition for the SHG women to succeed in the new role, the Collector said.