The Telegraph
Monday , February 27 , 2012
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Cop drive against snatching

Bidhannagar police is preparing a list of do and don’t for the residents of Salt Lake and Lake Town in an attempt to curb daylight snatching by men posing as cops.

Five such snatchings have been reported from the two places since January but police are yet to arrest any culprit. According to the complaints, youths posing as policemen took away jewellery from women after stopping them on the street and asking them to take them off the valuables for safety reasons,

“We are conducting meetings with members of various block associations and asking them not to give away their jewellery to anyone, including uniformed police personnel,” said Rajiv Kumar, the commissioner of Bidhannagar police. “We will intensify our campaign once the meetings are over.”

Senior officers said the commissionerate was also planning to spread the message through billboards and newspaper advertisements.

“We are asking the residents not to wear unnecessary ornaments and to alert the nearest police station if any person approaches them as cops or police volunteers and asks them to take off the items,” said an official.

Subrata Bandopadhyay, the deputy commissioner of police (headquarters), said more than one group might have been behind the five snatchings. “Till now there is no breakthrough.”

He added that 150 police volunteers had been deployed across Salt Lake and Lake Town but cops could do little unless the residents became aware.

“Last week, three youths had applied coconut oil on a woman’s wrist for 15 minutes and took away her gold bangles, saying they were police volunteers and it was their duty to help the residents remove their ornaments and keep it safely in bags. When the woman reached home, she discovered that the youths had taken away the gold bangles and kept plastic ones in her bag. How could someone allow strangers to take off her bangles?” wondered Bandopadhyay.

Residents, however, alleged that the police were shirking responsibility by laying the onus on the residents. “It is the job of the police to prevent such incidents. But they seem to be trying to wash their hands of the matter,” said a resident.