BANGALORE : DCP (South East) Dr Rohini Katoch, Bangalore's most high-profile women police officers, is now handling some of the its most sensitive cases. Her presence as the only woman DCP in the seven divisions of Bangalore comes at a time when the city is witnessing increasing violence against women.
A 2008 batch IPS officer, she did her MBBS before she took up the civil services. She replaced TD Pawar when Bangalore was seething with outrage over the Vibgyor High School child rape case.
Two months since she took charge, Katoch has been at the forefront of the investigation of various controversial cases, like the ones relating to the Vibgyor rape and the illegal detention, torture and suicide of Pradeep, a cab driver in KG Nagar.
In an interview with City Express, Katoch explains the importance of professionalism for a woman police officer.
Why did you join the IPS?
I have always wanted to join the civil services. My parents were both doctors and so I did my MBBS as well.
But getting into civil services was my dream and I gave it a shot. I was lucky and got through.
What are the challenges of being a woman IPS officer in Bangalore?
The focus has to be on professionalism.
Gaining the respect of colleagues and the public is challenging, initially. But when they realise that you are a professional, they begin to respect you. Moreover, at the official level, I believe it is easier. Because we are higher-ranking officials, people generally have faith in our capabilities and trust us.
How do you balance work and family? How do you de-stress?
It helps that I have a very supportive family and that my husband is also in the IPS. We both understand the demands of the job and support each other. Spending time with my two-year -old son helps me relax.
Have you ever felt the lack of respect from the public and your colleagues because you are a woman?
I've always found it to be more advantageous. I have observed that people tend to have more faith in women.
What do you perceive as the biggest concern that women have today?
I think crime against women and the panic it creates. Police officers need to prevent incidents and handle these cases with sensitivity and care. As a woman DCP, my focus is always on handling these cases with sensitivity. We also need to have a continuous preventive drive against these 'colourful' elements who cause safety issues.
What do you think Bangalore needs to do to curb these crimes?
We need an enabling process, where women do not stress about dealing with the police, and are confident of approaching us. They need to know that we are sensitive to their problems and that we will support them.
Their participation in the criminal justice system is essential.
To prevent crime, we need to keep an eye on anti-social elements and criminals. But that is only one part of the process. For it to be effective, women have to participate in the criminal justice system more. Whether it is reporting crimes or standing up as a witness till the accused is convicted. On our part, we have to be more approachable when women come to us so that they can be encouraged.
We need a proactive approach to address insecurities of individuals and a professional approach when dealing with crime. This will also encourage better participation.
Will it help to have more women in the force?
The state government has taken cognizance of this, but what is more important is that we deal with issues better. We get complaints about regular police stations, we also get complaints about women police stations.
The problem is not only the spiral in crimes, but the way we deal with it. If a victim loses her confidence in the law and order system, others will feel discouraged to participate as well.
Women do not want to be rescued everytime, all they ask for is police's cooperation.