Thursday, March 30, 2023
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Helping the needy, breaking old distrust: How Delhi Police stepped up amid Covid-19 crisis

With increasing cooperation from the public, the Delhi Police’s handling of the coronavirus crisis in the nation’s capital has been impressive.

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The dust had hardly settled over the handling of the law and order situation in Delhi, during which the Delhi Police unwittingly and unfortunately got caught in communal and political turmoil, when the Covid-19 pandemic suddenly struck like lightning around the globe. It began in Wuhan, China, but spread rapidly, taking a heavy toll on human health and lives in several parts of the developed world.

Our Hon’ble Prime Minister was quick to respond and ordered a countrywide lockdown to stop our population from getting infected by the novel coronavirus through person-to-person spread, and the Delhi Police was called upon to enforce the lockdown in the national capital. Other countries that waited had to pay a heavy price.

In my career spanning almost 40 years as an IPS officer, traversing the length and breadth of the country and abroad, never did I witness such a formidable task assigned to any police force. Yes, there were the 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington D.C. (when I was posted in at the Indian embassy in Washington D.C.), and the armed terrorist attack on our Parliament, in quick succession in 2001. One had also witnessed short-term curfew orders being imposed to restore normalcy in parts of cities, but nothing like this.

Also read: ‘Dil Ki Police’: Delhi Police Twitter handle gets colourful makeover to motivate ground staff

Expanding reach, using technology

I am both amazed and impressed with the manner in which the Delhi Police, perhaps the largest metropolitan police force in the world, has been using persuasive and not intimidating techniques to urge the people to stay safe at home and not come out in public areas. It is also making announcements via loudspeakers fitted on motorcycles and SUVs, and rapidly increasing its mobility to patrol every nook and corner of this expanding city.

On the technology front, the Delhi Police is also using pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras to effectively seal interstate borders, enabling centralised monitoring of movements, as well as camera-fitted drones to keep a watch over sensitive areas.

The Delhi Police has rightly been seeking cooperation of the public to keep the city safe. And it would have largely succeeded, had it not been for a religious congregation of devotees from all over India and abroad whose leaders defied repeated advice of the police to identify and disperse the participants only after undergoing medical tests. The rest is a sad story for which not only Delhiites, but also those living in areas far and wide, had to pay a heavy price. I do hope that each one of those responsible for this horrific crime is brought to face justice in the courts.

Food and essential supplies

The Delhi Police has also been using some innovative ideas, such as helping labourers by distributing freshly prepared food packets cooked hygienically in gurudwaras and mandirs.

Living in south Delhi, I am also aware how Delhi Police beat staff have been reaching out to the elderly and sick persons in my neighbourhood, and providing them groceries and medicines on their own motorcycles. Police officers and men in my police station area have been living within the precincts, away from their families, to happily serve the residents by eating food cooked in the police station.

Effective liaising with the various mandi boards has helped in keeping them safe, and enforcing social distancing amongst purchasers during fixed timings.

Also read: Not enough PPE, no insurance — how India’s police is fighting Covid battle unarmed

Breaking down distrust

This high sense of duty displayed by policemen in this hour of need has happily broken down the wall of distrust between the police and the community, which had unfortunately come up. Citizens are also coming forward via RWAs and other civil welfare societies, and volunteers to lend a helping hand to the police in this time of crisis.

Another challenge the Delhi Police has been facing is effectively sealing the almost 80 containment zones in the city by putting up barricades and deploying police personnel round the clock to ensure supply of essential items to residents. Civil police personnel are fortunately available in larger numbers to serve the citizens, since there is less movement of VIP protected persons. Also, the Delhi government and central government, which were at loggerheads since long, are now happily working in unison to make Delhi a safer and cleaner city to live in.

The Delhi Police leadership also deserves credit for giving compulsory offs to all subordinate ranks — five days to those below 50 years of age and eight days to those above that mark — to live at home with their families. They are also being supplied sanitisers, masks, T-shirts and buttermilk to keep them fit while on duty.

Keep up the good work, Delhi Police!

(The writer is a retired IPS officer and former secretary, internal security, Ministry of Home Affairs.)

Also read: Covid lockdown shows Indian police isn’t all brutal. Some officers can sing for us, feed poor


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  1. Commendable work being done by Delhi Police in these trying circumstances! As a fellow policeman, I can only hope, wish and pray that the general populace gives the cops (not only in Delhi, but across the country!) their due- at least now!!!

  2. All police under compulsion helping in corona time. Delhi Police DCP changed findings,Bribed?.
    Official facing trials.

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