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Belagavi Police initiate steps to work closely with citizens

Belagavi Police are taking several steps to bring police officers closer to citizens. As part of this drive to reach out to people, officers will work in coordination with residents of various areas, welfare associations, groups of professionals, students associations and others. These networking efforts will be online and offline.

On Wednesday, Station House officers of all the 32 police stations met wardens of boys and girls hostels in the government and private sector. This came in the wake of an incident in Chandigarh where an inmate shot videos in a bathroom.

Officers documented whether these hostels have perimeter walls, CCTVs and landline or mobile telephone connections. They asked the wardens to provide such infrastructure to their hostels.

They were asked to create awareness about the 24 hour helpline, 112, that connects multiple agencies, including the police and the Fire and Emergency Service and also emergency healthcare support.

Inmates, both boys or girls, have been asked to report incidents of loitering or online or offline stalking by known or unknown persons or other cases of harassment. Girls have been asked to report any untoward incident to their parents, wardens or the 112 helpline.

“Police officers have shared their numbers with hostel wardens so that they can reach out to them during emergencies or situations that could disrupt law and order. Officers have, in turn, been asked to remain vigilant throughout and respond to such calls immediately,’’ Superintendent of Police Sanjiv Patil said.

The police will also connect with citizens online. The district police are connecting with around 1.2 lakh citizens by forming 431 WhatsApp groups. These are residents of areas that have 379 beats of the 32 police stations.

“We began with a few important beats and expanded. Now, we have added 1,17,579 citizens,’’ Dr. Patil said.

“The idea is to enable the public get an instant access to their beat policemen and sub-inspectors. These groups will highlight any issues such as public nuisance or law and order issues. Citizens can request police presence wherever needed, including festivals, jatre or public meetings. They will be allowed to highlight traffic issues and to report violations or a dangerous stretch of road, if any. We have requested parents and teachers to highlight safety issues of school or college students, to report drugs menace or to report tobacco use or sale near schools and colleges or eve-teasing,’’ Dr. Patil said.

“The initiative began after the recent incidents of panic spread by fake news on social media. We want citizens to report fake news or rumours spreading in villages so that we can prevent public nuisance such as the one involving child lifters. I urge citizens to stay in the WhatsApp groups to strengthen the beat police system across the district,’’ he said.

He said that the members of these groups will also participate in offline meetings called by the respective police stations from time to time. According to him, these groups are already having some positive impact as the police officers are being tipped-off about law and order issues or offences, instantly.

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