All those using public telephone booths in the city will have to show valid identity proof before making calls. This is part of the steps taken by the police to curb crime and also hoax calls which keep the security agencies on tenterhooks.

“Anyone having a PCO booth will have to maintain a register in which all callers are required to write their identification details in their own handwriting. We have already issued written circulars under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code. We will keep regular checks on PCO operators,” said Mumbai Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh.

“In many kidnap cases, we have found that ransom calls were traced to PCOs. Many women too face problems of blank calls. There are many hoax calls, threat calls, and our investigation has found that all of them are traced to PCO booths.”

Also, police sources said, PCO booths were the preferred locations for gangsters to communicate with one another.

The measure is being greeted with scepticism among operators, many of whom say it will not be possible to maintain registers. To this, Mr. Singh said: “I know it will cause some inconvenience to people, but it will be helpful in maintaining law and order better.”

Valid proofs like PAN card, driving licence, voter card and Aadhaar card will be accepted by the operators.