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Coming soon: A more polite & sensitive Delhi Police, after trainers get trained by IndiGo crew

Delhi Police hope training from flight attendants & ground crew will improve cop behaviour across a range of situations, and change negative perceptions about the force.

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New Delhi: Delhi Police personnel are not exactly famed for charming and graceful behaviour, but that could change in the near future, with IndiGo cabin crew and ground staff being roped in to impart soft-skills training to cops.

The syllabus includes perception management, body language skills, coping with unrealistic demands, cultural sensitivity, managing emotions, and anti-discrimination training. The hope is that this training from flight attendants will improve police behaviour and sensitivity, and eventually change unfavourable perceptions about the force.

The first batch of training at the IndiGo airlines’ Ifly training centre took place last November, and saw 12 inspectors-cum-trainers of the Delhi Police putting on their student hats. These inspectors will now impart what they have learned about body language, emotions, and sensitivity to around 5,000 constables.

Sources in the Delhi Police told ThePrint that soft-skills training is already an integral component of police training, but this initiative under the tutelage of cabin crew will specifically help build skills to bridge the gap between the police and the public.

“The training by IndiGo air hostesses was done keeping in mind the most important components of soft-skills training — body language, sensitivity, and communication,” Sundari Nanda, special commissioner (human resource division) in the Delhi Police, told ThePrint.

The training is not just for cops to maintain a pleasant and patient visage, but also about equipping the police to better handle sensitive crimes, like sexual assault cases, and bring order in instances of public anger and mob violence, Nanda added.

While Delhi Police personnel have undergone training at Ifly before, previous initiatives were more limited in scope.

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More ‘receptive, polite, solution-oriented’ cops

According to a senior police officer, who did not wish to be identified, IndiGo staff have already trained 12 “officers from the security unit, traffic unit, district police, and licencing” in a six-day programme from 10 to 16 November last year.

“Two more batches will be sent for training with the airline staff soon,” the officer said.

Nanda said the training was geared to help the police engage more effectively with Delhi’s diverse population.

“Perception continues to be a major problem for the police force and enhancing their soft skills’ training will help change that. Delhi, as a capital city, has people from different socio-cultural backgrounds and hence it is extremely important for the police personnel to undergo this training to deal better with the masses,” Nanda said.

“Soft-skills’ training helps the personnel to learn, unlearn and grow in terms of being sensitive towards the grieving public and solve issues, keeping law and order intact,” she added.

Nanda also gave instances of how these skills would apply to critical situations.

“This training will enable police to be more sensitive towards citizens’ issues… For instance, they will be sensitised on how to make a sexual assault or domestic violence complainant feel more comfortable, or how to address and calm situations during mob violence or in general addressing public grievances,” Nanda said. “Basically, [training on how to be] receptive, polite and be able to provide a solution simultaneously.”

A push for more sensitivity

The Ministry of Home Affairs has emphasised the need for soft-skills training, Nanda told ThePrint. This seems to be borne out by a number of initiatives in recent years.

Last October, for example, the Delhi Police Academy held a four-day programme in collaboration with the International Hotel Association, GMR Aviation Academy and IndiGo, where 380 sub-inspectors of the force underwent soft skills training.

In January 2019, too, a batch of 17 police personnel underwent training at the Ifly training centre in Gurugram, with a focus on “six Ss”, namely swagat, sampark, sahanubhuti, samman, sabhyata, and samay (welcoming, communication, empathy, respect, decorum, and timeliness).

The Delhi Police are also planning to train 500 trainers in collaboration with the government’s Capacity Building Commission. These trainers, in turn, will then provide soft-skills training to 35,000 police personnel.

“Traffic police, the local police at the police stations, those attending emergency calls in the PCR (police control rooms) will undergo this training,” said the unnamed senior officer quoted earlier.

(Edited by Asavari Singh)

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