Human face of men in khaki

Human face of men in khaki


It was almost 3.45 am when Rani, who was pregnant, told her family that her labour pains had started. Her husband called 102 for an ambulance, but it never came.

The woman was in severe pain. In a desperate bid, her husband dialled Delhi Police control room number 100 for help. Soon, a PCR van arrived. But it was too late by them to make it to the hospital.

The staff took on the challenge with the help of the woman’s husband and sister. After several anxious moments, the first cry of the newborn filled the PCR van.

“Had it not been for the officers, that delight could have easily turned into a disaster for the family. The couple then declined to go to the hospital so they were dropped at their home,” says Additional Commissioner of Police (Operations) Ranveer Singh.

This is not the first time that a PCR van has come to the aid of a pregnant woman. It’s among the many odd jobs that Delhi Police personnel are assigned to do, even while their primary responsibility remains maintaining law and order.

Till August 15 this year, the police control room received nearly 55 lakh calls, while 87,66,483 calls were made in 2014. Out of these, the staff of PCR vans and local police stations attended 23,08,150 calls last year and 15,43,933 this year.

Apart from this, the department has also been involved in rescue of malnourished stray dogs, goats on the way to qurbani, emus abandoned by farmers and chickens being illegally transported for slaughter.

Not to forget the recent case of former Delhi law minister Somnath Bharti’s pet Don: the ailing Labrador was taken to the vet by police while its master was underground, evading them.

“One of the calls was to rescue a horse, which was seriously injured, but was still being used for weddings,” Singh added.  

In December 2014, a call was made to the police control room reporting that stray dogs were confined at a house in south Delhi’s Vasant Kunj. A neighbour had approached an NGO over continuous barking and foul smell emanating from the house.

The NGO informed police. A raid was conducted and 26 dogs were rescued. All the strays were malnourished.

“The total strength of the force is about 84,000, but a majority of them are busy providing security to VIPs, assisting civic agencies during their sealing and demolition drives, and carrying out verification of domestic workers.

We, however, try to work for the society as much as possible with all our strength,” says Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat.

Police are also into counselling couples on the importance of child healthcare and vaccinations, and suggest ideas to deal with road rage. “Put a photograph of your loved ones on your car’s dashboard to manage anger when on road,” the force advises motorists.

“Police are blamed for everything that happens on the road. For even the smallest of issue, drivers have been reported to kill and seriously hurt each other. Whether it is a parking issue or a scratch on the car accidentally, there is a serious lack of respect for life,” says Special Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Muktesh Chander.

Leaving 10 minutes early so that you handle delays calmly, and listening to relaxing music is part of the advice he offers.

Delhi Police Commissioner Bhim Sain Bassi has also made CPR training a must for all PCR van staff, so that they can save lives in emergency situations. So far over 8,000 have been trained in this.

According to Indian Medical Association, around 2.40 lakh people die every year due to heart attacks in the country, and thousands in road accidents. They believe 50 per cent of the people can be saved if 20 per cent of the population learns hands-only CPR.

“The fastest to reach an accident site or an emergency situation are the neighbourhood PCR vans, given the shortage of ambulances,” says Dr A Marthanda Pillai, IMA’s national president. He believes PCR personnel in Delhi are better
than their counterparts in other city to provide CPR and first-aid to victims.

Last month, a head constable and two constables got a chance to make use of what they had learnt. A man named Mahender Sharma fell off his motorcycle and collapsed near Chandgiram Akhara on Ring Road. He was unconscious.

The three policemen had noticed him, and rushed to help. On finding the pulse and the breathing missing, they began using CPR.

“Mahender began breathing again and was admitted to a nearby hospital. Further tests conducted on the youth revealed that he had suffered a seizure,” Ranveer Singh said. 

Abandoned baby
Last week, around 20 policemen turned guardians to a two-day-old girl abandoned outside Kalkaji Temple. Apparently, left to die on the pavement, she was nursed and fed before being admitted to AIIMS.

Announcements were also made at the temple in a bid to find the child’s parents. “The girl could have died without immediate treatment,” says Deputy Commissioner of Police (South East) Manjeet Singh Randhawa.  
At least some citizens appreciate this, the more human face, of
Delhi Police.

“Just before we play the blame game, let us step into their shoes and realise how hard their duty is. Their lives are every day at risk. Their families are in constant fear of losing their loved ones. They are not just a law and order agency,” says Mohit Ahuja, who works with a multinational company in Connaught Place.

With an increase in the number of rape and molestation cases, Delhi Police does come under criticism. But there is appreciation as well. “They drop women to their destination when they are not able to find a mode of transport at odd hours,” says Dheera Likhi, a Saket-based entrepreneur.

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