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#Inspiration: An All-Women Police Patrol Unit Has Been Flagged off In Noida To Ensure Women’s Safety In Public Places. What A Great Move!

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Portable pepper spray in the bag, (in a pocket that’s within reach, of course), 100 on speed dial and looking over shoulder multiple times for any shady man around. I am not narrating a scary scene from a thriller movie; this is what an average day in the life of an Indian woman looks like. Sometimes, we even keep a metal key chain ready to attack and stave off pervs on the bus, metro or in a secluded parking lot. But is it a woman’s job to be armed at all times, whenever she steps outside, and look out for a potential threat and forestall it at her own peril? No! But is it what’s expected of us? Sadly, yes.

Every time a horrible crime makes the headlines, women are conveniently told to “be more careful” in these “public places to avert an untoward incident.” Putting the responsibility of women’s safety on their own shoulders just because men will be men or the system is flawed is not the answer. What we need is men to create a safe space by not being perpetrators (but I guess that’s too much to ask for from some men) and a better security and police patrolling especially in public places where these crimes take place most often.

Thankfully, Vrinda Shukla, the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Women Safety) has decided to bring a positive change by launching a women police squad to patrol around public places like shopping malls, metro stations, auto stands, schools and colleges in Noida and Greater Noida. In a bid to create safe public places for women and ensure safety and security, Gautam Buddh Nagar police flagged off an all-women police patrolling unit in Noida to bolster women’s safety in the city. This is an important and much-needed step for a city which is infamous for crimes and one that has faced scathing criticism for women’s safety in the recent past.

Also Read: Telangana Police Will Have Pro-Women Safety Clubs In Colleges. We Think This Was Much Needed

The “SwayamSiddha” patrol units, as they termed it, will have uniformed female personnel, which could be either a police sub-inspector, a head constable or a constable on a scooter frequenting the crucial spots in the city where there are more women around and safety is a concern. There will be one rider per scooter and they will be equipped with a body-worn cameras, a baton and “hidden arms and ammunition.” There are 50 such units employed and 100 scooters provided to the squad. Initially, they will be deployed in the daytime but the duty time could later change.

Talking about the initiative, Police Commissioner Alok Singh said, “It’s an initiative by Deputy Commissioner of Police (Women Safety) Vrinda Shukla. Her department has been coming up with initiatives on women safety in the past also which have shown positive results. Today, 50 such units have been launched. The initiative has been done after adequate research. About 163 hotspots were identified across the district where women felt need for more police security. Route charts have been prepared accordingly for the patrolling units.” “We would be increasing the capacity as and when the lockdown opens, more improvement s would be made on the same,” he added.

DCP Women’s Protection Vrinda Shukla also said, “We have around 100 scooters and we have deployed closed to 12-13 scooters and the areas with less footfall we have deployed two-three scooters. The idea materialised after feedback mechanism through social media platforms. And asked women about the areas where patrolling is needed and how can it be provided.”

I think it’s a great initiative to ensure women’s safety in public places. Having all-women police squad is even better since it women protecting women is not only so much safer (considering the recent criminal offences against women by male constables in police stations) but is also incredibly empowering. This is however not the first all-female police patrol unit to come to force.

Udaipur City Police launched the first female patrol wing back in 2016 in Udaipur, Rajasthan which consisted of 23 specially trained women personnel and 10 motorcycles. The unit was deployed in 8-8 hour shifts throughout the day around the city. In 2019, Mangaluru City Police launched an all-women police patrol unit called “Rani Abbakka Force” in the city to order to ensure the protection of women and children. In February 2020, Bengaluru Police flagged off India’s first all-women night patrolling unit named ‘Shaurya Vahini’, with 13 women drivers of Hoysalas and 26 women riding Cheetah motorbikes working in night shifts, making it first of its kind in the country.

In the last few months, the crime and violence against women have risen unbelievably. However, the bright side is that the police and the government seem to be making this grim issue a priority and are working towards putting an end to it by launching such safety initiatives, be it the launch of pro-women safety clubs in colleges by Telangana Police or the special programme by the Maharashtra Government to train 5000 college women on using cyber space safely and now the all-women police patrolling wings.

Women’s safety is still a far-fetched dream in India but with authorities working day and night launching such empowering and assuring initiatives dedicated to women’s safety is priceless. This will go a long way in shaping the state of women in the country, hopefully for the better. Don’t you think?

Also Read: Ludhiana Police Launched Free Pick And Drop Service For Women At Night. Well, That’s A Start But Please Give Us More Such Reforms.

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