The Telegraph
Tuesday , March 11 , 2014
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Citizen cops for night vigil

The police plan to appoint persons who will serve as night watchmen in different localities and help nab thieves. The move follows a spate of theft and snatching incidents.

Patna senior superintendent of police (SSP) Manu Maharaaj said the logistics of the plan were being worked out and the help of business bodies like Bihar Chamber of Commerce and Industries (BCCI) would be sought for the same.

“After a recent spate of thefts in Patna, instructions were issued to all police stations to stay alert after dark and patrol different localities looking for suspicious people. However, the fact remains that the police cannot be present at all places all the time. Hence, Patna police are in the process of devising a plan to curb incidents of theft. The logistics, however, need to be worked out first,” the senior police officer told The Telegraph.

The plan envisages creation of night watchmen from among residents of the respective localities.

“The police need to start the programme soon. For this, a public relations campaign needs to be started so that people can get involved and the police will look into residential areas and those localities that have shops. The plan involves setting up of small groups of people, preferably belonging to the same locality, who can work as night watchmen and keep an eye on their area at night, as most incidents of theft take place in the late night or early hours.

“However, it isn’t that the police will leave the entire responsibility on these men who are to function as night watchmen. The police will always be present and help them out. Patrolling, too, will continue and would be intensified. But then, the presence of such groups in the different localities will help. They will serve as the eyes of the police. They will be given the task and the entire plan will be chalked out in a very proper and organised way. The presence in localities of such night watchmen who are awake and keeping guard will definitely act as a deterrent for the criminals,” the officer pointed out.

Such groups of vigilantes would not be confined to residential areas alone. They would also stand guard in areas that have shops.

“For this purpose, the police will be speaking to business and trade bodies like the BCCI so that they can also get involved and help the police. At this moment, the finer details about composition and functioning of these groups have not been decided. But then, things are being worked out and will be finalised shortly,” the SSP said.

The police plan to set up the patrolling teams in a manner so that they evoke an element of surprise and fear in those stepping out to commit crimes at the ungodly hours.

“Instructions have already been given to the police stations to study their respective areas thoroughly and make a list of entry and exit points and deploy forces in the same places. The element of surprise needs to be with the police always. A group of thieves or dacoits moving in a particular area to commit a crime or coming out of a household or shop after committing a theft or crime should feel the surprise and shock element when a police team surfaces suddenly out of nowhere. The localities will also have cops in civil clothes patrolling for the same purpose,” the SSP said.

The night watchmen plan comes soon after the police force cracked down on lax officials in the department. Only on Friday night, the SSP had suspended two policemen for evading work while on duty.

The senior policeman had set off on a surprise inspection dressed in civil clothes.

He landed at Pirbahore area around 1.30am, found sub-inspector Raj Kumar Paswan was not on patrol or holding checks, and suspended him on the spot. Maharaaj then entered the Pirbahore police station premises and found another police officer, identified as Shyam Kishore Yadav, dozing off. He, too, was suspended with immediate effect for his attitude towards duty.

All police station house officers in Patna have been told to remain alert while on duty or face the axe. As a result, surprise inspections at night will go on for now.

Senior police officers can visit police stations anytime to inspect if the policemen are carrying out their work, as also to check the files.

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