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Keeping Open All Options In Community Policing!

IPS officer Lohit Matani, SP of Bhandara, Maharashtra, is going all out to ensure strong community policing. His open-door policy in the office is bringing in transparency and easy accessibility. His initiatives for the security of vulnerable sections like senior citizens, children, and the underprivileged have put in place an effective safety net.
Indian Masterminds Stories

From the time he joined Bhandara in Maharashtra as SP, IPS officer Lohit Matani has set about ensuring the safety and security of the most vulnerable sections of society – the senior citizens, the children and the underprivileged. Another unique initiative of his is the open door policy in his office which has caught people’s attention and is the subject of many discussions. 

Indian Masterminds spoke to Mr. Matani to know more about this policy and also about his initiatives for the vulnerable.

OPEN DOOR POLICY

To ensure transparency and a free flow of conversation between the public and the police, Mr. Matani initiated an open-door policy in his office. According to the policy, the doors of the offices of superiors or the management must remain open for the employees and people to have easy access to them for their queries and complaints.

“The people can freely complain regarding issues not solved at the police station level and other issues like the presence of illegal activities, terrorist activities and other criminal activities,” he shared.

The officer spread information about this through a social media video, wherein he urged the public to report any illegal or criminal conduct to him directly. He also gave his contact information, WhatsApp, and Instagram details in the video, so people could easily get in touch with him.

“A database of complaints is maintained and feedback is taken every three hours to see whether action is taken, or being taken, against the delinquents. It also provides information about lacunae in the functioning of the police department and helps in eradicating those structural, leadership and personnel deficiencies at different levels of the police machinery,” he told Indian Masterminds.

COMMUNITY POLICING

The internet has brought about significant changes in the ways that police communicate with the common public. Social media has expanded the range of law enforcement communication channels while offering greater immediacy and enabling direct-to-citizen outreach.

Apart from social media, Mr. Matani has initiated several initiatives for the safety and security of the common public, especially the vulnerable sections.

SENIOR CITIZEN CELL

Senior citizens are the most respectable residents of a society but sometimes they are not treated as they should be, particularly those senior citizens who are living by themselves. Bad elements of society try to dupe and cheat them of their property and savings, and trying to fight off these people can be a big hassle for them.

Hence, Mr. Matani has launched special Senior Citizen Cells across the district through which police personnel can adopt these citizens and personally look after them and their needs, and offer prompt assistance in case they are subjected to any kind of harassment by known or unknown people.

“The cell contains records of senior citizens living alone in the district and they are adopted by police personnel. Their issues are tackled at a periodical level and they can freely contact their police personnel. Their issues mostly involve land disputes, family disputes and health-related ones,” shared Mr. Matani.

POLICE DIDI

With hardly any proper sex education and cybercrime awareness provided to children in schools, they are prone to get misguided and commit grave mistakes. In some cases, young vulnerable girls also become victims of sexual abuse and child trafficking due to a lack of knowledge.

To avoid this, the Bhandara police have started the ‘Police didi’ initiative under which female police constables lead schools and sensitize students studying in them regarding various important topics.

“In this initiative, one police constable leads two to three schools in her area and creates awareness on issues like pre-marital sex, drugs trafficking, cybercrime and punishment for indulging in these things. Every child is free to approach her,” Mr. Matani told Indian Masterminds.

MOHALLA COMMITTEE

Furthermore, to bridge the gap between the common people and the police, the Bhandara police has initiated a Mohalla Committee which will help the police in solving the problems of the public.

“One Mohalla Committee of 15-20 people is created for every urban area colony and one for each village. This committee acts as a bridge between police and the public, and eradicates their issues.”

JUVENILE CELLS

Due to a rapid increase in crime among minors, the Juvenile Cell, consisting of police personnel, lawyers, psychologists and social workers, do regular counselling of the juveniles to deter them from indulging in crime again.

The initiative has proved to be successful, as a significant fall in crime rate can be witnessed after its launch.

Mr. Matani is leaving no stone unturned to engage with the public fruitfully and ensure that strong community policing is in place to make the vulnerable sections of society feel protected at all times.


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