All Police Assistance Booths in Tiruchi are functioning again, reports R. Rajaram

After a long lull, Police Assistance Booths in Tiruchi seem to have gained vibrancy once again. With a view to putting "pro-active policing" in place, the booths have been "revived." The idea behind reviving the system is to improve the level of policing at the ground level, besides making it an interface between police personnel and the public.

The system, which was in vogue till a few years back, after it was launched in 1999 by the then Commissioner of Police J.K. Tripathy proved useful for police and the public. However, it gradually lost steam and became almost inactive. Yet, the success of the concept was not lost on the police and the need to revive the system was voiced again.

Thanks to a direction from the Inspector General of Police, Central Zone, M.S. Jaffer Sait, who took charge recently, all the 57 police assistance booths, also known as "Beat System" in police parlance, have begun to function at the ward level.

Each one of the booths has four policemen who would work in shifts looking after their respective jurisdiction besides keeping their superiors and the police station concerned informed about happenings in the ward at periodic intervals.

To make communication faster, the constables manning the booths have been provided walkie-talkies to alert patrol vehicle or police control room in case of emergency. The men in the booths have been directed to maintain registers, including one exclusively with names and addresses of residents in that ward.

The men in uniform would also have to keep a tab on "shady characters" or persons against whom cases had been registered, besides the typical problems of the ward, particularly those with a history of prohibition or communal sensitivity.

They have also been instructed to have first-hand information on number of cases registered against persons in that particular ward besides maintaining a vigil on movement of strangers.

A three-tier system is in place with booths at the ground level followed by patrol vehicle and the police station, says Mr. Sait. The beats are fixed and so are the constables, to enable them to be thorough with the area.

The aim is to have information on movement of strangers and activities in the wards, Mr. Sait said. Being easily accessible, the booths, which function more like an outpost, would accept petitions and transfer them to the police station if need be. Plans are afoot to start such booths in all district headquarters coming under the Central Zone in the near future, says Mr. Sait.