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Throwing Away Her Lab Coat for Khaki

Leaving behind a shining career as a biotech engineer and researcher, IPS officer Ms. Niharika Bhatt decided to work for the people of her nation. The result: she is a leading police officer today.
Indian Masterminds Stories

”Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” This famous quote by Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Sir Winston Churchill, stands true when it comes to policing. Depending on the circumstances, the police force needs to adapt themselves to changes by either working hard on the field or by simply being a good listener to a grieving person.

The Senior Superintendent of Police in Karaikal, Puducherry, Ms. Niharika Bhatt stands by this opinion and tries to focus on initiating community-friendly policing in her district.

In an exclusive conversation with Indian Masterminds, Ms. Bhatt talks about her journey in the service.

IPS officer Niharika Bhatt

FROM A BIOTECH ENGINEER TO AN IPS OFFICER

From the beginning, Ms. Bhatt was keen to be a biotech engineer. Doing scientific researches was where her heartbeat the most. Pursuing her dream, she even got a job as a researcher in biotechnology in the United States.

However, Ms. Bhatt soon realized that the job was quite monotonous and she would rather have a more dynamic job profile. That is when she decided to give the Civil Service examination and cracked the toughest exam of India in her first attempt, with an All India Rank of 146!

“I decided to appear for civil services examination towards the end of 2013. Returning back to India after studying abroad was always part of the plan, so civil services kind of happened as a natural progression of things. It provides a very dynamic work profile, with public dealing, new challenges, and opportunities so it seemed like a perfect fit,” Ms. Bhatt told Indian Masterminds.

She left a biotech research job in the US to serve her nation

WORK DURING THE COVID PANDEMIC

The unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic placed innumerable hurdles in everyone’s life, especially our front-line helpers and police personnel who had to guard the streets in the scorching sun and rain to stop people from roaming around on the streets aimlessly, while the nation faced a strict lockdown.

“The work during the pandemic has been very challenging, especially in terms of balancing requirements of policing and also ensuring that every person under my command stays safe from the disease,” says Ms. Bhatt.

While others were staying in their homes, safe and sound, Ms. Bhatt and her team had been putting in umpteen hours of work. Sharing her experience at the time and talking about how she dealt with the situation, she told Indian Masterminds, “During the first wave of 2020, it was difficult as the disease was new and safety protocols were still being set up. However, now covid 19 appropriate behavior is an obvious part of social conversations and more or less given, so it’s been relatively easier. We have also focused on vaccination among the police officials and we have a pretty high vaccination rate of 90% upwards in the district police force.”

She stood strong on the field during the Covid-19 pandemic.

COMMUNITY POLICING

2015-batch IPS officer, Ms. Bhatt believes in creating a bridge between the police and the administration on one side and the civilians, for whom they work, on the other. It is extremely important to form a kind of alliance between the two parties as, in a way, both the sectors are co-dependent on each other.

To do so, Ms. Bhatt is inducing “community-friendly policing” in her district so that the citizens are not afraid to come to the police for help and in return, the police personnel may be empathetic towards them and listen to work on their issues.

“Community policing is being boosted by forming peace committees comprising of members of different religious communities wherein all the issues related to religious gatherings, events, and festivals are discussed,” she told Indian Masterminds.

The officer promotes community-friendly policing

Moreover, Ms. Bhatt is also raising awareness about Covid guidelines, under the community-friendly policing initiative. “Covid awareness has been a community policing initiative on a massive scale, where the police personnel right from beat constable to SP have been going to villages and markets with loudspeakers to raise awareness about Covid appropriate behavior.”

IPS officer Ms. Niharika Bhatt believes that “Policing is a challenging career. However, women are finding their foothold in the profession over the past decade and there is wide acceptability of women officers.” Her statement stands true as we notice a large number of women personnel in the civil service who are actively sweating out, ensuring peace to people and society.


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