Kolkata police launched a drive to sensitise civic volunteers and constables against whom there are allegations of misbehaviour and overstepping of authority.
Between Tuesday and Wednesday, senior officers of the rank of assistant commissioner held several sessions across traffic guards briefing civic volunteers and constables about how they should deal with people and the need to stick to the role assigned to them.
“Stick to the brief and remember your rank and designation. Be decent while interacting with pedestrians and others, some of whom may not always be nice with you. One indecent or wrong act will bring to naught all your earlier achievements,” a senior officer told a gathering of around 50-odd civic volunteers and constables while addressing a session on Tuesday afternoon.
The move to hold special sessions with the personnel in the lowest rung of the force follows an incident where a civic volunteer reportedly forced to the ground an alleged pickpocket and put his booted foot on his throat at the Exide crossing in south-central Kolkata.
Pictures of the volunteer’s act had gone viral on social media. The volunteer has been “demobilised” for an indefinite period.
Several senior officers admitted that on many occasions civic volunteers and a section of constables had either acted beyond their brief or misbehaved with people while performing their duty.
A false sense of power sometimes drives civic volunteers and constables to behave in an indecent manner, officers said.
At the sessions, officers spoke at length on how a section of civic volunteers overstepped their brief, which is merely helping officers manage traffic.
“We have been telling civic volunteers and constables that you're not supposed to go out of your way and make decisions,” said an officer who spoke at one of the sessions.
“Your seniors are there to take decisions and act. Most of you have been provided with manpack sets. If you face any difficulty please call or get in touch with the seniors.”
In the wake of the incident at the Exide intersection, police commissioner Soumen Mitra asked divisional deputy commissioners of police to brief volunteers and constables on how to behave.