During Covid, an image makeover opportunity for police

Sunil Kumar, whereas dashing to work from his house in Najafgarh, seen a lady asking for assist at AIIMS. He stopped to search out that her solely baby, a younger man, was mendacity in an auto rickshaw, gasping for breath. On an impulse, he rushed the younger man to a south Delhi authorities hospital. Whereas driving, he requested his colleagues to rearrange for a ventilator. Within the absence of a stretcher, he carried the person in his arms to the ward the place he was promptly attended to by the responsibility physician. Earlier than going to his police station, Kumar shared his contact quantity with the anxious mom. He continued to assist her until the younger man recovered. His mom had no phrases to thank him. It’s one other matter that Kumar, a Delhi Police constable, himself received contaminated and needed to be admitted to a hospital.

Kumar will not be alone. Head constable Sanjay, posted at a crematorium, helped carry our bodies to the pyre. Assistant sub-inspector Sube Singh rushed filled-up oxygen cylinders to hospitals. A girl constable Priya served meals to hungry and drained hospital attendants. These are some tales of members of the Delhi Police defying all odds and preventing their very own fears to care for others throughout the pandemic.

These tales are a welcome change in our notion of the police. Relationship again to my childhood, for me, like many others, the sight of a policeman evoked worry and uncertainty. After coaching at Hyderabad, I grew to become a part of the identical police ecosystem. With out a clear understanding of the foundation explanation for the damaging public notion of the police, I attempted to enhance the “police service supply” for residents, hoping that it might finally enhance their image. Time flew by and, once I took over because the Commissioner of Police, I emphasised on two issues within the drive: One, enhance core competence and, two, foster a useful perspective.

A few months into 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic and the nationwide lockdown introduced every part to a standstill. Concern pressured folks indoors. However, Delhi Police personnel continued to be on the streets. As a rule, they took up challenges far past the decision of responsibility — from donating blood, getting oxygen cylinders crammed, to cremating the useless and arranging for ambulances and hearse vans. A helpline was began to remain related with residents. The welfare of senior residents was carefully monitored. A system of issuing on-line passes was launched to make sure mobility for emergency companies.

In parallel, regular police work was reoriented because the pandemic threw up new challenges. The second wave resulted in a sudden spurt in demand for oxygen cylinders and concentrators, remdesivir, ambulances and hearse vans. Hoarders and black entrepreneurs tried to play havoc with an already fragile provide chain. Cyber fraudsters used social media platforms akin to Fb, Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp to supply companies in opposition to advance cost. Many victims fell into the lure and misplaced not solely their hard-earned cash, however treasured remedy time as properly. Police groups painstakingly pursued no matter slender leads have been obtainable and apprehended culprits throughout the nation with the assistance of the police in different states.

Delhi Police additionally took a success because of the pandemic. Greater than 13,500 personnel examined constructive for Covid and 77 of them succumbed to the illness. Many police personnel misplaced their members of the family and shut kin. But, displaying exceptional resilience, they quickly resumed their duties.

What’s the purpose for such a metamorphosis? At its core is the necessity to assistance on humanitarian grounds, however the rank and file went far past this. Years of conditioning have taught the police that they’ve to face up and be counted when the chips are down. This sense could be very tough to elucidate. A police officer attuned to working around the clock so that folks can sleep in peace, who willingly spends his or her Diwali and Eid on the streets, away from household, can perceive this psyche very properly. Like medical doctors in hospitals, the police have been seen on the streets and symbolised hope for many in want. The constructive position performed by the police was appreciated by a grateful public. Although this went past the contours of typical policing, the personnel not solely derived immense satisfaction, however developed a newfound id and objective as properly. The appreciation by the folks was an added bonus. Extra importantly, the image of being smug, detached, and corrupt appears to have been changed by one in every of braveness, politeness and selflessness.

However this burdens us with an added accountability. How can we maintain this image?

Finally, for numerous causes, the pandemic will abate. The Covid curve is on its method down. The lockdown is being progressively eased and shortly it is going to be enterprise as normal. On this metropolis of over two crore folks, the acquainted noise, the exhaust fumes from autos, mud from building websites, can be again once more, elevating and fraying tempers once more. Friction and battle, at current underneath the pandemic lid, will simmer and boil over. The police will intercede by means of prosecution, arrests and warnings at any time when authorized boundaries are transgressed. When that occurs, sadly, the police will develop into a topic of indignation. All of the appreciation earned throughout the pandemic could also be spent and the damaging public notion can be again.

The important thing to addressing this problem is to enhance the professionalism of our drive. A method is to improve our core competence in areas of crime prevention and investigation and dealing with of complaints. However greater than the motion per se, it’s the notion of getting taken the appropriate and honest resolution that’s extra essential. Most disputes usually are not open-and-shut instances, which makes the duty of apportioning fault between events tough. Because the common police individual is over-burdened with myriad duties, they can not give equal consideration to all. That is sure to lift questions on professionalism and the sense of equity.

An answer to this dilemma lies in group participation in police capabilities. Progressive societies have developed sturdy mechanisms to deal with such points. The resident welfare associations can increase police capability by means of peoples’ participation. The latest disaster has introduced the police and the general public nearer. This police-public participation, based mostly on belief and compassion, ought to endure. If proactive participation from the group turns into a actuality, the standard of police work will considerably enhance. This may create extra room in any respect ranges for enhancing service supply, focussing on core policing and finally paving the best way for an enchancment of the police’s image among the many public.

This column first appeared within the print version on June 10, 2021 underneath the title ‘The drive of compassion’. The author is Commissioner, Delhi Police.

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