BHOPAL: When the Jabalpur police appointed three khaki-clad schoolboys as the district police chief for five minutes each, they did not expect it to be more than a photo-op. But the boys surprised the police by helping the real cops bust two illicit liquor dens in the city.
A group of 40 schoolboys, mostly students of Class VI and Class VII from 10 different government schools of Jabalpur, were invited as special guests at the weekly Jan Sunwai of the SP-Jabalpur Amit Kumar Singh on Tuesday.
Dressed in khaki fatigues, the boys were subsequently briefed by the district police chief at his office about the challenges faced by the cops. Singh then asked how many of them wanted to become the SP-Jabalpur.
Three of the 40 boys present at the SP-Jabalpur office overcame the hesitation of speaking before the top cop of the district and boldly admitted their wish to become the SP.
Each of them was subsequently allowed to turn SP-Jabalpur for five minutes each, taking the chair of the SP. During their five-minute stint as “SP Jabalpur,” the three boys were introduced by the real SP as the “SP for five minutes” to various police station in-charges over the phone and wireless sets.
But the roleplaying by the three boys ultimately delivered unexpected dividends for the Jabalpur police. Acting as the 'Five Minutes SPs', they gave vital inputs to the respective police station in-charges over the phone and wireless sets to bust two illicit liquor dens operating in the slum areas of Jabalpur Kotwali and Marhotal.
Not only did the three slum dweller ‘Five Minutes SPs’ guide the cops of Kotwali and Marhotal police station in busting the liquor dens and arresting men engaged in the illegal trade, but the students-turned-cops also gave vital inputs to the SP-Jabalpur about narcotics and gambling dens operating in other slum areas – which are slowly turning into underbellies of the drug trade and bootlegging in Jabalpur.
The state police on directions from Chief Minister Kamal Nath are presently running a committed drive “Operation Prahar” against the narcotics trade, bootlegging and gambling across the state.
One of the ‘Five Minutes SPs,’ when asked by the real SP, even gave him inputs about how some cops in the special Cheetah patrolling squad of the district police were openly taking bribes from drug peddlers in the Chandal Bhata slums. Based on the information given by the student, the SP asked the concerned police station in-charge to put a leash on the alleged police-criminal nexus or be ready to face action.
The SP-Jabalpur said the initiative was part of the Special Police Cadets (SPC) program which is being run by the district police in 10 government schools of Jabalpur.
“Around 500 students from Class VI to Class XII in these schools, particularly those from lower socio-economic strata and slum dwellers, have been given khaki uniforms akin to police uniforms and are being groomed in various skills, including traffic management and disaster relief skills. We’re also aiming to encourage them to give us real-time intelligence inputs about their areas, besides motivating them to adopt policing as a career in future,” Singh told The New Indian Express.