Breathe Free & Walk Easy: 10 Initiatives of The Mumbai Police That Every Woman Should Know About
“The yardsticks to determine how safe Mumbai is as a city is not what the underworld is up to, but rather how safe its women are.”
– Rakesh Maria, Commissioner of Police, Mumbai.
The cities and urban spaces you are most comfortable and intimate with are the ones that you know at a walker’s space. The safest city is the one where you can cover end to end on foot, confident and carefree. Unless you are able to do that, you are not truly free.
So, how safe do you feel in Mumbai?
For long, like most metropolitans across the world, Mumbai has had a conflicted relationship with the guardians of its peace, law and order – the local police. But in recent years, the police has been making various efforts to engage with the citizen, especially women, children and senior citizens. They are gradually learning to look at the issues from a citizen’s point of view. Several initiatives that aims to encourage co-operation between the police and the communities have been launched.
On the occasion of Independence Day, Aarambh has put together ’10 Initiatives of The Mumbai Police That Every Woman Should Know About’.
Read on to see how you can help protect yourself with a little bit of support from your friendly neighborhood cops.
1) 103 Helpline For Women, Children & Senior Citizens in Distress
In 2013, a special 24 hour helpline for women, children & senior citizen was launched. 130 women personnel were trained and sensitized to attend and respond to the calls. Cases related to sexually assault and domestic violence are assigned the highest priority. In 2014, the people behind the ‘103’ initiative attended close to 50,000 distress calls.
2) Women Beat Marshals in High Risk Areas
210 woman police constables have been given specialized training in martial arts, armed combat and motorcycle riding. Out of these the best 110 were chosen as beat marshals. These daredevils constantly patrol and keep an eye on 210 ‘high-risk’ zones for women that have been identified across the city.
3) Patrolling Van With Lady Officer
Mumbai Police has over 3500 patrolling vans that circumnavigate the city. Every van has at least one lady officer present at all points of time. As soon as the van receives news of sexual assault or domestic violence it will, without the slightest delay, respond to the call and arrive at the location of the distress in least amount of time possible.
4) The “Travel Safe When Alone” Initiative
On International Women’s Day last year, 2 numbers were launched under the “Travel Safe When Alone” initiative in collaboration with MTNL – 9969777888, 9969777999. These are helpline numbers for women using public transport at late hours in the night. All one needs to do is SMS the start and end location of the intended travel and the license number of taxi or auto you have boarded to any of the above numbers . An sms is sent to you wishing you a ‘Safe Journey’. The control room will then monitor your progress and safety with the help of the service provider until you have safely reached your destination.
5) Help Desks at Police Stations
Recently Help Desks were instituted with every police station in the city. 125 colleges in Mumbai were approached and 1400 students were recruited as volunteers. The helpdesks are attended to by one student and one lady police officer. They have been trained and sensitized to assist you with whatever issues you are facing. They have been asked to give priority to women, children & senior citizens.
6) Compulsory Registration of Sexual Assault Cases
The police has been asked to register every case of sexual assault brought before them. They cannot turn back any cases or refuse to file the FIR. Orders are clear that the stress needs to be not on the rising number of crimes being recorded but on increasing the detection percentage.
7) Nirbhaya and Manodhairya Schemes
Various compensation schemes like Manodhairya and Nirbhaya have been announced for victims of rape, acid attacks, domestic violence, dowry harassment in the hope that it will provide some amount of courage, succor, support and rehabilitation to the victims. The police play a key role in assisting victims to access these schemes.
8) A Sensitized Police Force
Several sensitization programs on issues like sexual offences, child rights etc are being organized for police personnel across the city. Standard Operating Protocols as well as Awareness Posters have been drafted and issued as to how they can act with due procedure and sensitivity towards women, children and senior citizens. In cases of Domestic Violence and Child Sexual abuse, instructions have been issued that the victim does not have to come to the police station. Lady officers will meet the victim at a place of her/his choice, where she/he feels safe and then send it over to the police station.
9) The Mumbai Police Pledge to Women
Every Women’s Day, Mumbai Police takes the above pledge to treat all women with respect & dignity. Click here to read the pledge in full.
10) Coming Soon: #SaveMyNumber
In a soon to be announced scheme which may go by the name ‘Save My Number’, posters with the contact details of a local police officer trained in responding and reacting to cases involving women, children & senior citizens will be posted in each zone. This police officer will act as the point of contact between your neighborhood and the local police. Coming Soon to a Wall Near you.
In the meantime, visit the Mumbai Police’s website for their safety tips & suggestions. Click here.
Happy Independence Day! Breathe Easy. And walk free.