Mumbai: New police recruits will now be trained in child's rights issues

Updated: Dec 25, 2017, 10:09 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon

In a first, YASHADA, with the help of city NGOs, includes study on child rights' issues in the department's curriculum for new joinees

New recruits in the police department will now have to study child rights' issues as part of their field training. The idea was conceptualised and moulded to suit their curriculum with the help of city NGOs working closely with the Police Training Centre (PTC) in Marol.

A batch of new recruits visited Rahul Nagar and Lal Mitti Nargis Dutt Nagar slums in Bandra East recently as part of the new field training
A batch of new recruits visited Rahul Nagar and Lal Mitti Nargis Dutt Nagar slums in Bandra East recently as part of the new field training

As a part of the programme, recently, 350 trainee policemen visited slums in Bandra East to get first-hand information on the conditions in which slum kids survive. The next batch of 350 trainees will soon visit the Children's Home in Dongri, to understand the centre's functioning and interact with the juvenile undertrials there.

New recruits

Understanding criminology
DCP Somnath Garge, principal at PTC, said, "The programme is an initiative of Yashwantrao Chavan Academy of Development Administration (YASHADA), which is the administrative training institute of the government of Maharashtra.

"Trainees will now have to attend a 12-day mandatory foundation course, of which one day will be on the field with the assistance of a shortlisted NGO, and document their findings. Around 632 are undergoing the training, having completed three months out of the total nine."

New recruits

Garge added, "Criminal behaviour can be better understood in slums and during field exposure... Earlier, criminology was 'a person must have committed theft because s/he was hungry'; but today, stealing has various reasons and several modus operandi."

Interestingly, said Garge, some recruits, unlike earlier, are overqualified for the post of constable and hold bachelors and masters degrees in engineering and science. "The need of the hour is to change the traditional methodology of training policemen and make them adapt to the changes in society."

An eye-opening experience
The Bandra visit was organised with the help of volunteers from a CRY partner, Habitat and Livelihood Welfare Association (HALWA). Inspector Sneha Giri from PTC said, "We approached CRY as it is in the list of top 10 NGOs. Instead of inviting NGOs to classrooms, we thought it would be a good idea to take students directly to the areas where these NGOs work. Through this programme we found out that there are presently over 54 laws active for children."

Most out-of-town trainees expressed shock at the plight of dwellers in Rahul Nagar and Lal Mitti Nargis Dutt Nagar slums. Dyaneshwar Pokle, a trainee from Beed district, called the visit an eye-opener and said he would utilise his masters degree in social work to tackle society's problems better and faster, once inducted.

"I saw many children sitting amid filth and studying as their homes had been demolished for the widening of a nullah. I also came across children who spoke good English; that was a pleasant surprise," he said. After the visit, the trainees gave presentations on their observations and discussed ways and means to create child-friendly police stations.

On-ground observations

Kumar Nilendu, GM (devpt support), CRY-West
'I congratulate the PTC principal and inspector Giri for their foresight in coming up with such a wonderful programme as part of new recruits' training. CRY looks forward to providing the trainees field experience on the situation of children in Mumbai slums and what efforts can be taken to ensure their rights'

Shweta Tambe, founder, HALWA (CRY partner)
'Interaction with them (the trainees) was an eye-opening experience, and the observations they made after the visit were astute, empathetic and acknowledging of the deprivation certain sets of people have to survive in. This kind of interface will help them to become grounded in the realities on their sites of operations'

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