Mumbai: Your friendly neighbourhood cops are back

Updated: 26 October, 2020 07:25 IST | Faizan Khan | Mumbai

Mumbai cops reboot time-honoured method of policing from the streets; each station to get 5 beat chowkies with 25 members each

Policemen at work at the renovated Lalewadi beat chowky that falls under Sahar police station at Andheri Kurla Road. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
Policemen at work at the renovated Lalewadi beat chowky that falls under Sahar police station at Andheri Kurla Road. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi

The Mumbai police have begun focussing more on their beat chowkies to strengthen policing under an initiative by the newly appointed Joint Commissioner (Law and Order) Vishwas Nangare Patil, who believes they are an important mechanism in maintaining order and gathering intelligence. Patil said that the chowkies are being renovated and more staff and vehicles will be provided.

Patil himself has started visiting beat chowkies too to observe their functioning and note requirements. "We are strengthening beat chowkies by renovating the current structures and providing them with more staff and vehicles," Patil said.

Vishwas Nangare Patil, joint commissioner (law and order)
Vishwas Nangare Patil, joint commissioner (law and order)

Last week, Patil visited the Lalewadi police chowky near Airport Metro station in the jurisdiction of Sahar police station. The chowky has been renovated. To boost the morale of the force, Senior Police Inspector Shashikant Mane of the police station was asked to inaugurate the chowky. "Running police stations from the chowkies is our concept. Permanent staff will be allotted to every beat chowky along with one four-wheeler and four bikes for continuous patrolling of the area. A PI rank officer will be in charge of the beat chowky and will decide on everything, including the leaves for the staff," Patil said.

Catering to unique needs

The city's 94 police stations have different beat chowkies based on their requirement and geographical areas. Many chowkies face a manpower crunch as most of the staff is deployed to look after day-to-day tasks of the police station, including registering FIRs, passport applications and verifications, investigation, taking accused people to court or hunting them down, etc.

Workers give finishing touches to the Lalewadi police beat chowky
Workers give finishing touches to the Lalewadi police beat chowky

"We will have at least five chowkies in every police station's jurisdiction with a staff of around 25 in each. This is will be needs-based policing as every police station has different requirements — some have large slums, some have more high-rises or industrial areas, while some need community-based patrolling," Patil said.

"The strengthening of chowkies will not only help curb crime but also get timely intelligence about specific areas. This helps avoid law and order situations," Patil added.

The newly renovated Lalewadi police beat chowky at Andheri
The newly renovated Lalewadi police beat chowky at Andheri

The beat chowkies will be monitored by Zonal DCPs and additional commissioners.

"There is no doubt that beat chowkies have been very helpful in collecting humans intelligence and preventing crime. But manpower has always been an issue," an officer from a police station said.

"Beat chowkies are a concept from the British era and have been very helpful in preventing crime. Several Mumbai police chiefs have contributed to strengthening them, especially after the 1993 bomb blasts. However, some commissioners did not even focus on the concept. This caused a lot of harm to the police force. It is good that the Mumbai police is focussing on them," said senior crime journalist Baljeet Parmar.

94
No. of police stations in Mumbai

05
Total no. of vehicles for each beat chowky

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First Published: 26 October, 2020 07:05 IST

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