Encouraged by the success of Neighbourhood Watch (NW) initiative in Whitefield, Deputy Commissioner of Police (South East Division), Dr Boralingaiah M B has announced the extension of the programme to other areas of South East Division, ie, Kadugodi, Varthur, HAL and (Old) Airport.
In an event organised by Whitefield Rising (WR) on August 20, 2016, at Ecumenical Christian Centre (ECC), the DCP launched the NW4 Group within Whitefield PS limits to cover residents of ECC Road. The first such group was formed near Forum Value Mall in March, and two other groups followed.
As over 50 citizens from different parts of Whitefield listened with rapt attention, Dr Boralingaiah explained the challenges faced by the police force. ACP Nagesh Kumar of Airport Sub-Division, Inspector Chandrappa of Kadugudi PS, Inspector Naveen of HAL PS, Inspector K Ravi of Whitefield PS and Inspector Narasimha Murthy of Whitefield Traffic Police Station appreciated the initiative and expressed hope that the programme would be adopted across the city.
Being vigilant all the time
“Increasing instances of crime and constantly changing demographics of the area motivated WR to work with the then Whitefield Police Inspector, Narasimha Murthy, to implement the concept in early 2016,” explained Anupama Kilaru, a WR volunteer. “The concept of citizen-involved policing has existed, albeit with local flavours, both in India and abroad,” she added.
NW is about citizens becoming more aware of the happenings in their locality and acting as extension of ears and eyes of the police. It involves security guards employed by various communities, who would serve as a large force to protect the area if they are rightly motivated and respected for the role they play. Installing CCTV cameras, connecting communities, and sharing information helps in keeping vigil.
The DCP being a good sport answered questions raised by the audience, making for a lively engagement.
Q. Why did you become a policeman after being a doctor?
A. I wasn’t sure that I would get through the UPSC exam in the first go, but I had a seat in the medical college. I studied medicine to ensure that I had a livelihood before pursuing this dream. I’m delighted I made it and don’t regret it at all.
Q. What is your measure of success of a police station?
A. Least number of complaints about a police station; no rise of rowdies targeting common people; no situation where women are not confident of walking on the road alone; no occurrence of violent activities.
Q. As vigilant citizens, we face intimidation from people who are adamant about breaking the law, like use of banned plastic, zoning violation, unauthorised construction, etc. How do we deal with such situations?
A. Report it to the police. And we will do our bit to help.
Q. What are the Top 5 things you want to tell citizens?
A. (1) Be vigilant; keep a watch; (2) Public should come forward with information; (3) Note down numbers of suspicious vehicles; (4) Have good coordination among communities, and communicate to us the right things; (5) Install CCTV cameras that will deter offenders and prevent crime.
Q. Why is it that people in Mumbai follow traffic rules but here they don’t; is it related to enforcement?
A. (1) Lack of personnel; the force needs two to three times augmentation; (2) at current level, difficult to enforce if we have to also register cases; (3) growth of vehicle density; (4) road infrastructure is better in other cities; (5) failure to forecast the growth is also a problem.
The DCP was appreciative that WR volunteers did not waste money on garbage-generating gifts, like bouquets, and ensured the use of reusable utensils instead of disposable items during the event.
The evening that concluded with the National Anthem saw a wonderful bridge being built between Whitefield citizens and Bengaluru Police!
Neighbourhood watch activities
- Inviting police at regular intervals, to speak to the watch group
- Reporting suspicious activity to the police.
- Training members on what kind of suspicious activities to look out for, observation skills and crime reporting, and making one aware of crime investigation process.
- Discussing crime prevention information shared by police during block parties, community events.
- Rising to the occasion during terrorism, law and order issues, calamities.