‘Police taking steps to ensure city is safe for women’

Wednesday

In the aftermath of the horrific gangrape incident in New Delhi as well as a spate of crimes against women in Mumbai, the number of women police constables is being increased across police stations in the city. Cases involving women will now be directly supervised by senior officers, and action will be taken in a time-bound manner, said Mumbai police commissioner Satyapal Singh on Wednesday.

Singh said all police stations will have at least five women constables. "Many women living in slums and hailing from underprivileged backgrounds are uncomfortable at police stations because they have to speak to male officers there. Phone numbers of women officers will also be prominently displayed at police stations and beat chowkies to make them more accessible to women," he said.

Singh said all cases involving women would be investigated by the Deputy Commissioners of Police (DCP) of the respective zones on a priority basis. "The DCP will supervise the investigation and ensure that it is completed in a time-bound manner. Cases of assault can be investigated in a matter of two-three days, but officers tend to sit on them for months," he added.

To encourage women to report crimes, around 4,000 complaint boxes will be installed, in addition to the 1,000 that were put up at police stations across the city in October, Singh said. "Numbers do not bother me; increasing number of crimes against women does not mean the city is unsafe. It means that more crimes are being reported. Ten complaint boxes will be installed in each beat of each police station, which is roughly 40 per police station. We need to create more opportunities for women to report crimes," he said. The boxes will also be installed in public places and educational institutions.

Singh indicated that there will increased interaction between women's organisations and police officers. "The DCP of each zone and senior inspectors will periodically meet women's organisations to understand their problems as well as to spread awareness. By working closely with them, we will try to dispel the panic caused by the Delhi incident and give out the message that Mumbai is still safe for women," he said.

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