Mumbai police on Wednesday got all-women beat marshal squads, a first-of-its-kind initiative in the country wherein armed female police personnel will patrol the city streets on bikes, specifically to tackle crime against women.
Inaugurating the initiative, Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil said, "Even as some serious crimes occurred here, if you go by the statistics, Mumbai and Maharashtra are considered to be safest in the country.
"By introducing 205 women beat marshals, Mumbai police stood first in the country to take up such initiative and I am sure the squads will bring down crimes against women and make women feel more safe in the city," Patil said.
The initiative is based on the beat marshal system, comprising male police personnel, which was introduced by Mumbai police in 2003.
"While performing duty with good intentions if any mistake happens then we will support you (women beat marshals)," Patil said at the event held at Bombay Police Gymkhana.
Asserting that Maharashtra police has the maximum number of women police personnel, Patil recalled, "This year, about 4500 female police personnel joined the department and in the next four years, we aim to take in another 20,000 women personnel in the department."
The minister hailed Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria for reposing faith in women police by forming such squads.
"In Gadchiroli district, female police requested me that they also should be deployed in forest areas to fight against naxals," he added.
The minister asked Maria to double the number of beat marshals in next months.
Addressing the gathering, Maria said, "there are 747 mobile vans and 944 male beat marshals. In addition to this we now have the women beat marshals. The 205 female personnel were handpicked and imparted rigorous training, including riding bikes, using firearms, unarmed combat, wire-less communication and so on."