Patrolling lapses get citizens’ goat

Police have drawn public ire for failing to notice the rape and murder accused’s lorry parked on the Hyderabad-Bengaluru national highway for hours.

Police have drawn public ire for failing to notice the rape and murder accused’s lorry parked on the Hyderabad-Bengaluru national highway for hours.   | Photo Credit: Representational Photo


Officers criticised for spending more time in their air-conditioned patrol vehicles, glued to smartphones

Drawing flak from citizens in wake of the rape and murder of the woman veterinarian for what was seen as casual approach of certain law enforcing personnel, the Telangana police are reworking their strategy to improve patrolling in the city and rural areas as well.

Finding themselves in a spot after questions were raised about the police patrolling vehicle missing the parked lorry for hours together on the Hyderabad-Bengaluru national highway, the police patrol team would now be more on the move.

“We will make sure that the on-duty officers patrol bylanes and smaller roads so that people found indulging in anti-social behaviour are either arrested or shooed away,” a top police officer said, responding to how the four accused who had parked a lorry on a highway road were unafraid of police patrolling and consuming liquor the entire day.

The officer said they would revise the patrolling strategy by identifying more isolated areas where the vehicles can be sent for surveillance.

DGP reviews

Director General of Police M. Mahender Reddy held a series of teleconferences with the Commissioners, District Superintendents of Police and other officials concerned on how to improve security in the State. Sources said Mr Reddy was taking stock of the current situation across the State and was seeking advice on improving women’s safety.

“After the outrage over how Cyberabad dealt with the victim’s family when they approached to lodge a missing complaint, we have decided to conduct special training for officials on the dos and don’ts while talking to petitioners,” the officer said, adding that the training will start soon and gender sensitisation will be the key aspect.

SUVs too comfortable?

Another question that is being raised is: have the air-conditioned SUVs given to policemen made them a tad too comfortable? With windows rolled up and AC on, the personnel are seen glued to their smartphones and tabs at several junctions and hotspots.

The popular public perception is that this kept the cops from noticing the woman veterinarian who was standing near the toll gate for nearly 30 minutes before being whisked away by the accused, who sexually assaulted her before taking smothering her to death.

Revising strategy

Moreover, public sentiment after the incident has not spared the police from accountability, with citizens asking why the officers are seen inside their patrolling cars much more than on the ground.

After the formation of separate Telangana, the police were given hundreds of new SUVs and the concept of ‘Visible Policing’ was introduced to prevent crime and give a sense of safety to the public.

Accepting the fact that the sight of policemen sitting inside AC vehicles with the windows rolled up is quite common, a senior police officer told The Hindu that patrolling strategy is being revised. “They have to get out of their cars, interact with people and build confidence in them,” the officer said.

Among the other questions being asked about the accountability of police in the past few days is how the police have, even with SHE Teams in place, failed to reach out to the common public, with many women still scared to call the police in times of danger.

“Yes, the way some speak to the complainant can be labelled as rude. We are not perfect but surely have made much improvement than earlier. However, the stigma needs to go. Women in distress must call the police, leaving aside any reluctance or fear that they may have,” the officer said.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2019 6:04:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/patrolling-lapses-get-citizens-goat/article30142729.ece

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