Where police have no guarantee of their safety

Ten attacks in one year puts City police on the defensive

Where police have no guarantee of their safety

The City police are revisiting the security protocol for the protection of their personnel after yet another policeman was assaulted by an auto driver during a routine check.

The unidentified auto driver ran his vehicle over the leg of Yathiraj, sub-inspector of Kumaraswamy Layout traffic police station, in front of Dayanand Sagar College in KS Layout on June 5. The auto driver was furious that the inspector was trying to book him for wrong parking.

“The driver was angry that he was being booked and he tried to grab the Blackberry device. He pushed me aside, following which I lost balance and fell,” Yathiraj said. “But by the time I could get up, he ran the auto over my left leg.”

Bystanders rushed to Yathiraj’s rescue and tried to nab the unidentified driver. However, he abandoned the vehicle and fled. The police have seized the vehicle and are trying to trace the driver. The sub-inspector is being treated at a local hospital for the past five days.

Similiar cases across City

In the last one year, this is the 10th such incident wherein a policeman has been either injured or assaulted while on duty. Similar cases were reported in Madivala, Goraguntepalya, Brigade Road, Banaswadi and Mysore Road.

“We had issued radio sets to the field officers, keeping in mind their safety a few years ago, so that they can contact the control room for assistance whenever such incidents happen. However, with the tremendous growth of the City's population, we have realised that we need to do much more to ensure the security of our men,” Additional Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Kamal Pant said.

According to the police, currently their personnel are unevenly distributed.
“In residential areas, a single constable does the surveillance job, whereas in crowded areas like malls, religious places or communally-sensitive places, multiple small teams of one or two personnel do the patrolling. To deal with unforeseen incidents, we have ‘Hoysala’ and ‘Cheetah’ patrolling teams. They are sent on request,” Pant said.

‘No emergency teams’

While senior police officials claim that emergency teams are already in place at various locations to rescue personnel from harm’s way, the men on the field say it is a false claim.

“There is no standby team. If things go wrong, we have to defend ourselves. We had difficulty in getting additional forces to rescue a colleague when he was attacked by a mob of foreign nationals recently,” said a policeman with Ashok Nagar station. The policeman had apprehended four East African nationals after they created a commotion in an inebriated state on Residency Road and threatened the police with a broken glass bottle.

The police generally apprehend such offenders under IPC Section 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) or Section 333 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt to deter public servant from his duty).

“We deal with such offenders sternly, since they show no respect for law,” Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) M A Saleem said.

In some areas, even beat constables are told to carry weapons for safety. “While any officer would think twice before using his weapon for self defence, its mere display in some cases can act as a deterrent to mischief mongers,” Pant said.

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