THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The next time you visit the Fort police station, don’t be surprised to find seesaws, cradles, toys, seats in the shape of ducklings and paintings on the wall depicting children’s favourite cartoon characters. It has undergone an amazing makeover to become a children-friendly station, along with five other police stations in the state. On Tuesday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan launched the new look of the station in the presence of state Police Chief Loknath Behera.
Right from the entry gate, the police station has undergone a transformation. It no longer has musty interiors, a stone-faced sentry with a bayonet-fitted rifle and piles of dust-coated case files. These images which are imprinted on the minds of the people makes them think twice before approaching a police station. But the policemen have scrubbed these pictures clean.
Once you enter the station premises, cartoon characters like Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Mayavi and Spiderman greet you. A park also has been set up for the kids so that they can enjoy the time they spent at the stations when they come along with their parents. A special block has been allotted for kids so that they can play with toys.
According to A Ajichandran Nair, Station House officer and Circle Inspector, Fort police station, the station premise is all set to greet the children.
“This ambience has been created for kids who accompany their parents who come here to file complaints. They should not feel afraid. I am sure the kids will enjoy coming to the station,” he said.
The initiative is part of the Children and Police Programme (CAP) which aims to make police stations children-friendly. As a part of the effort, a separate room for children complete with posters, attached toilet and drinking water facility has been set up. Aimed at creating a conducive atmosphere where women and children can come to the police station without fear, the complete makeover done with the support of the Unicef.
A special officer has been entrusted to guide the kids and help them make use of the facilities. A Child Welfare Officer will be trained and deployed at each station to interact with children and engage them in friendly activities. Mahesh, a civil police officer, who has been assigned to look after the arrangements said the new system is expected to bring a change in the picture that kids have of police. He said a police team will be conducting awareness sessions on cyber threats as part of the children-friendly police scheme.
“We conducted awareness classes at five schools in the city. Classes will be conducted at other schools soon,” Mahesh said.
The police department came up with this project to sensitise officers about the need for ‘social policing’ to bridge the gap between the law enforcers and the society. A first of its kind initiative in the state, CAP will equip police personnel with the know-how to effectively do their duty, ensure better protection of child rights and prevent the abuse of minors. The makeover will ensure children who are victims or accompanying complainants are entertained in the station.