| Police stand guard outside Gandhi Maidan police station on Monday. Picture by Ranjeet Kumar Dey |
Effective crime control and good exercise at the same time — the foot patrol directive to all station house officers in the city seems to be good for both.
Sources said the arrest of two criminals by foot patrol police on January 16 seems to have prompted the department to issue instructions to station house officers (SHOs) in the city to start foot patrol in a bid to catch criminals on the spot and instil public confidence.
The police brass considers the effect of the foot patrol would be good if a policeman, particularly a station house officer or the team leader of a police station, leads his men on foot through the lanes and bylanes in the areas under his jurisdiction.
“The police were on the lookout for a gang of conmen after they duped a man in the Twin Towers area under Gandhi Maidan police station on January 15. The victim was robbed of his laptop after two men lured him out of his car after scattering money in the front. They fled with his laptop, placed inside the car. A foot patrol team cracked the case the next day by nabbing two men from Tamil Nadu. There are many advantages of foot patrol. It is even more effective if the SHO of a police station does the same. It instils confidence among the masses and fellow policemen,” a police officer told The Telegraph.
On the arrest of the Tamil Nadu gang, a police officer at Gandhi Maidan police station said: “The police were walking and reached Ram Ghulam Chowk area near Exhibition Road. Two men started running on seeing the team. A short chase ensued and they were caught. During interrogation, they confessed to their crime.” Several police personnel said they had been directed to start patrolling on foot rather than sitting in police stations or in police vehicles.
Explaining the advantages of foot patrol, another police officer said: “The police generally patrol their areas under their jurisdiction in vehicles. But patrolling on foot has its advantages. Each police station has many market places and densely populated areas, where incidents of snatching and loot are general. There are criminals who take advantage of the crowd and resort to crime, as it is easy for them to mingle in the rush and escape. But the sight of policemen on foot in such areas can spell fear in the hearts of criminals, as it did in the Tamil Nadu gang case. They can be caught easily in that way. Things get a bit difficult during patrolling in vehicles. The four-wheelers cannot move freely in dense areas. Once an officer spots a criminal and chases him after getting out of the vehicle, precious time is lost. Hence, foot patrol in densely populated areas is always a better idea.”
Sources said the SHOs of the police stations have been asked to take the lead in the patrol. “If an SHO leads the foot patrol team, the effect is positive. It boosts public confidence. It also keeps the patrol team members on their toes. Now, if a senior officer just sits in the police station or a police vehicle and orders constables under him to go and patrol on foot, things would not be very effective. The patrol team would not take it seriously, with the team leader taking rest. So, the SHOs should take the lead and move with their team members,” added the officer.