Mumbai: 60 women constables clear driving licence test at Tardeo RTO
Sixty constables undergo training and clear licence test after their male counterparts shy away from driving duty
The eight-hour shift for constabulary has come as a boon to personnel, but it's not without its problems - the biggest one being shortage of drivers for police vehicles. To that end, 60 women constables, who have been taking driving lessons for all vehicles from 9 am to 6 pm, appeared for their permanent (driving) licence test at Tardeo RTO on Thursday and cleared it. "All the policewomen, aged between 22 and 43 and from the rank of constable to naik, have cleared," said inspector Meenal Tarkar, who works in the East region and coordinated with the motor transport department.
The batch of women constables after clearing the driving test
The reluctant men
The move came after senior officers received a lukewarm response from male constables when they were approached to take up driving duty owing to the manpower shortage; the women constables, then, volunteered for the job and readily signed up for the training and driving test. Officers said that before the eight-hour shift started, every city police station had seven drivers for each of the two shifts for seven to nine police vehicles; now, three to four drivers are available per shift.
A constable said, "Men constables asked to work as drivers are usually not happy with the work as they feel they are being downgraded. Also, lack of training makes them unfit for driving, as they need to chase or speed up in an emergency. Driving through the difficult and dense traffic in Mumbai takes a toll on their physical health and leads to rash driving and police vehicles getting damaged."
On the right track
The 60, who have been training daily with the motor transport department since February 15, have driven over 2,000 kilometres. Earlier, women drivers were used only for patrolling on two-wheelers and an SUV for child and women safety. Now, after clearing the test, they will drive police vans for bandobast, ferrying staff for raids, and taking criminals to court, apart from other police duties, officers said.
Distance the women constables have driven during their training sessions
Number of women constables to undergo training in the second batch
Drivers currently available per shift for police vehicles
Also read: No certificate? No women cops
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