Among different Indian cities, the crime rate in Kolkata, as reflected in an ‘India Today Best Cities’ study, is fairly low compared to other Indian metro cities. Despite some recently reported incidents, Kolkata, as revealed in the report, is clearly one of the safest cities in the entire country with the largest deployment of police staff per 1,000 people.
The biggest strength of the city lies in its citizens. The City of Joy is still one of the rare cities in the country where a woman can ask for help and anticipate cooperation from complete strangers. Kolkata is safe because of its aware residents, a senior Kolkata police official was cited as saying in the India Today article. According to the officer, in Kolkata, people aren’t scared of stepping out of their comfort zones to lodge police complaints, or to protest against crimes, which makes the city a much safer place for women, children, the elderly, and others alike.
The West Bengal Government is Revamping Its Anti-crime Infrastructure to Ensure Kolkata is Safe
Modernization of the State Police Force features as one of the top priorities of this present dispensation. Arms, ammunition, vehicles, and sophisticated equipment are being procured on a regular basis to equip the State Police Force with the latest hardware. 58 motorcycles, and 111 vehicles, including ambulances and troop carrier vans, were handed over to the West Bengal Police in the recent past. The Kolkata Police was provided with 72 vehicles and 100 motorcycles to increase mobility for better city patrolling.
The state government of West Bengal, in order to address the problem of manpower shortage, has emphasized on the recruitment of Civic Police Volunteers, who will assist the present police force in non-combat scenarios. Out of 1,30,000 vacant posts, 1,19,916 Civic Police Volunteers have already been enrolled so far, along with 40,000 regular police personnel.
According to available reports, eight new Police Stations are being created under the Kolkata Police jurisdiction in added areas like Rajdanga P.S., Baghajatin P.S., Golf Green P.S., Barisha P.S., South Behala P.S., Panchasayar P.S., Anandapur P.S., and Sarsuna P.S. Completion of the project will ensure comprehensive security of the entire city limits.
The Government’s Zero-Tolerance Approach Towards Crime Against Women
The West Bengal state government, to deal with the increasing problem of crime against women, has started a string of initiatives. It has opted to set up as many as 65 Women-only Police Stations in a phased manner. These police stations will primarily attend to incidents of crime against women, besides handling other police cases. Out of 65, most of the police booths have been set up across Bengal, and many of them have already started functioning.
In an innovative approach, the Kolkata police have introduced Video Conferencing System in police stations, divisional offices, and in its headquarter to provide real-time solutions to the citizens. Night policing has been significantly intensified in the city. Right now, over 150 crime-prone points are being covered under the supervision of senior police officers, particularly to put a check on night crimes against women. The Kolkata police are also in the process of launching – ‘Sukanya’ – a project that intends to impart basic self-defence training to students of Class-VIII – XII of Girls’ Schools.
The Government Is Embracing Technology to Reduce Crime Rate
“Intelligence Surveillance System (ISS)”, comprising of more than 500 CCTV cameras, have been installed by the Kolkata police at important road crossings to ensure round the clock “Smart Video Surveillance”. An ‘Unmanned Aerial Vehicle’ (UAV) has also been procured by the state government to track suspected vehicles, to control the crowd, and to efficiently conduct disaster management and counterinsurgency operations.
To crack down on hard-core crimes, the Kolkata police, in future, plans to prepare a central database of inter-state criminal gangs and ISPs for preventing cyber-crimes. Installation of mega-lenses CCTV cameras in large hotel establishments, guest houses, and unmanned ATM counters is in the process, along with digitization of indexing system at Special Branch.
These all-encompassing initiatives undertaken by the city police, actively backed by the state government of Bengal, have led to improved response times, more intensive crime control, and better public-police relationship, promising that Kolkata is safe for its citizens.
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