On Wednesday, Valasaravakkam Assistant Commissioner Mahimaiveeran visited the residents on VOC Street at Thirumalai Nagar in Ramapuram under the jurisdiction of Royala Nagar police station, while
Saidapet Assistant Commissioner Anantharaman and team led by Adyar Deputy Commissioner V Vikraman visited Kothamedu.
“The idea is to visit thickly populated areas and interact with residents. For those who think they cannot meet the senior officers, this is a kind of easy access. This is an avenue for inspectors and ACs as well to get a firsthand experience on issues confronting residents,” said Anantharaman.
“At Wednesday’s visit to Kothamedu, the grievances mostly were civic in nature and the common desire was round-the-clock police presence. We told them that though it may not be possible, we are just a dial away,” said the officer.
Assistant Commissioner Mahimaiveeran said: “The vulnerable will often get threatened by anti-socials against approaching police. So, when we visit their areas, it gives them the confidence to come forth and speak out. Also, the exercise would act as a deterrent to miscreants.” Another officer noted that patrolling by walk has always existed, but no officer insisted on the exercise in the recent past.
While former city police commissioner AK Viswanathan introduced the grievance hours for the inspectors to receive the petitions directly from victims, the present commissioner converted it to video call owing to COVID pandemic. Recently, the contact numbers of the officers on night rounds were shared on social media for the benefit of residents to reach out to the officers concerned directly in case of an emergency and the initiative has started showing results.
When contacted, Joint Commissioner (North) V Balakrishnan said the practice is being carried out in north Chennai as well. “The objective is to increase the police presence and secondly to enable interaction with people. As of now, there is not much interaction at the officer level unless there is an issue,” said the official.
He added that it is not an additional work on the officers’ part and would be part of their patrol routine. “Just that the officers have to do it by walk, covering a minimum distance daily,” the official added.
Inspectors in north Chennai are already visiting the slums on Saturdays to interact with dwellers and listen to their grievances.