Lucknow: Police in Uttar Pradesh’s Hardoi district have launched a “pilot initiative” they hope will curb theft. Personnel of the Sandi police station in Hardoi have put up notices around town, asking people to inform them if they have plans to go outside town and leave their homes unattended.
The information can be conveyed verbally or in writing, the notices state, adding that incidents of theft increase in the winter months.
“The possibility of theft and burglary increases in the area during the winter season. Under these circumstances, some special precautions are required,” the notice says.
“Whenever someone goes outstation, leaving their houses locked, they should do so after providing some prior information, in writing or verbally, to the police station. This is to ensure that you and your property can be protected from any kind of damage etc,” say the notices, labelled “important information”.
Asked about the notices, Hardoi Additional Superintendent of Police Anil Kumar said the initiative was the brainchild of the Sandi Police Station.
“Let’s consider it a kind of pilot project. These notices have been put up in order to protect people’s homes. If someone goes outstation after informing police, then police will conduct more intensive patrols outside their house so that there is no theft or burglary,” he added.
“If this experiment proves successful, it can be implemented in other police station areas or the entire district,” he said.
Kumar also sought to assure the public that the initiative is voluntary, and no one should feel any pressure. “This (initiative) is only for the benefit of the common people. It is not that there will be any penalty (for disobeying it). Instead, because of this, police will remain additionally alert to prevent any occurrence of theft or burglary in locked houses,” he said.
‘No logic behind notices’
The opposition in Uttar Pradesh has criticised the initiative, saying it is police’s primary duty to provide security to people.
“It does not matter whether any person informs police before going out of town. Do they want to keep a vigil on who is going where? There is no logic behind such notices,” said Samajwadi Party (SP) district president Jitendra Verma (Jeetu) .
“Incidents of theft are going up continuously. Law and order is not being maintained. The government should concentrate on improving policing,” said Jeetu.
State Congress spokesperson and Hardoi leader Anshu Awasthi also questioned the logic behind the notices.
“Even those victims, who come to police station with genuine applications, are often denied justice many times. Police should first work to ensure justice for them,” he said. “The law-and-order situation is quite disastrous across the state. On top of this, now police are asking us to inform them before going out of town.”
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