Keeping a close watch

Keeping a close watch

New Initiative

Keeping a close watch

You can’t miss the sight of a lone cop standing near supermarkets, crowded malls and parks in prominent locations across the City these days. He’s definitely not a beat policeman but someone who is at hand for any possible emergency.

The Bangalore City Police has recently initiated the ‘Janasnehi scheme’,
owing to increasing cases of chain-snatching and small daylight robberies. The cops on guard at these select points are instructed to keep a close watch on suspicious elements prowling around. Metrolife spoke to a few cops stationed at these spots and people at large to understand if this initiative will make Bangaloreans any safer.

The ‘Janasnehi scheme’ was launched by the police commissioner of Bangalore city almost a month ago. The existing 102 police stations across the City have been directed to depute four cops each in sensitive locations in the City. Talking more about the initiative, additional commissioner of police (law and order) T Suneel Kumar says, “There are four cops each from 102 police stations working in two shifts (6 am to 2 pm and 3 pm to 10 pm). These cops alert the jurisdictional police stations in case of any emergency. And the position of the all the four cops, from each of the jurisdictional police stations, is decided by the sub-inspector of that particular station.” Suneel further explains that the posting of a cop depends on the sensitivity of the area in question.

The cops who stand guard at these places say that they watch out for any suspicious elements moving around the area. Mailar B Kari, a cop who stands at Anjanaya Complex on Old Airport Road, says, “There are cases of daylight robbery and chain-snatching. If there is a problem, we immediately report it to the jurisdictional police.” Prabhu Gowda, who is stationed near Cubbon Park, confirms increasing cases of chain-snatching and eve-teasing in the area. “We keep an eye on the people who enter and leave the park. It’s an effort to make people feel safe; we will be around when people need us.” The area around St John’s Road, near Thom’s Cafe, is guarded by Siddappa Kiranagi of Bhartinagar Police Station. Siddappa says, “Earlier, when people parked their cars and went to the supermarkets, the car windows were broken and items like laptops stolen. This prompted us to choose this spot.”  

Despite this, citizens — especially women — feel there’s not enough being done to tighten security in Bangalore. They point out that there are several dark stretches in the City that need more security. Aishwarya Athreya, a student, says she doesn’t see many cops after dark around Koramangala.

“Women feel most vulnerable after dusk when the streets are nearly deserted. A woman walking alone on the street is always prone to danger. Whether the cops will implement what they claim is yet to be seen,” she says. 

Pratiksha Achar, another youngster, points out that women continue to feel unsafe in the City. “Cops must be stationed in places where there are chances of women being attacked. For that, the police must make an effort to research and understand areas that are unsafe.” 

But Ravi Teja, a professional, thinks that people have the freedom to move around — even late at night — only because of police presence. “I only hope the cops are available when we need them. I’ve heard that the police force here is pretty under-staffed,” Ravi concludes.