New wing to protect women, children benefits both victims and police

Regular police stations focus on crime prevention

Formation of the crime against women and children wing seems to have benefitted the 35 All-Women Police Stations (AWPS) as well as the regular police stations in the city.

Freed from bandobast duties, the AWPS takes care of the safety of women and children, while regular police stations focus on crime prevention and ensuring of law and order.

The crime against women and children wing was formed in June 2019, based on a direction from the Supreme Court. Since June 2019, it has registered 292 cases, including 137 Pocso cases, 10 rape cases, 30 dowry harassment cases and 115 women harassment cases.

“We have booked 26 offenders under the Goondas Act, and have been successful in getting conviction in 25 cases. We now work in coordination with other departments , like social welfare, social defence, courts and child and women rights’ activists and organisations,” said H. Jayalakshmi, Deputy Commissioner of Police, special wing for crime against women and children.

A.K. Viswanathan, Police Commissioner, said: “Earlier, the AWPS were under the jurisdiction of the Assistant Commissioner and the Deputy Commissioner. Now they report to me, two additional commissioners and to Ms. Jayalakshmi.”

Personnel from regular police stations are also relieved, as they no longer have to handle cases related to missing women, Pocso or harassment, apart from the regular law and order cases. “Now these personnel can focus on community policing, patrolling and crime prevention,” said Prasanna Gettu, managing trustee, International Foundation for Crime Prevention and Victim Care (PCVC).

“The AWPS now don’t have to worry about other duties, and probably because of this, there is a change in the way they treat the complainants,” she added. Even complainants have started seeing a difference. “When we would approach the station earlier, most personnel would have gone on bandobast duty. Now officers are present at the station,” said K. Vani (name changed), who had come to the Thousand Lights police station to lodge a complaint against her husband.

Sherin Bosko, child rights’ activist and co-founder of Nakshatra, an NGO that works for the rehabilitation of rape victims, said police personnel were now more sensitive when it came to Pocso cases and those concerning women. “Recently, the AWPS handled a child rape case very efficiently,” she said.

Staff shortage

But AWPS personnel complain that there is a need to fill vacancies in the wing. “As of now, we have a strength of 500 personnel. We need at least 130 more personnel to perform even better,” said a police officer.

Women inspectors add that they need technical training and a dedicated cyber team for the wing to handle online harassment and child pornography cases.

“We have to approach the cyber crime unit of the Central Crime Branch every single time, and this causes a delay in cracking the cases. It will be best if we are technically equipped and have a cyber unit of our own,” they said.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 9:25:25 AM |

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