CHENNAI: Inspite of advertisements of sponsors being removed from barricades and traffic booths, many police stations and signboards still have advertisements on their name boards.
On March 24, Express published a story ‘Tricky Ad-venture’ where the practice of police directly getting sponsorship from private companies was highlighted since it threatens the image as a neutral law enforcement agency. After that, advertisements on barricades and police shelter posts were removed with ‘POLICE’ stickers.
Yet, a lot of police stations and road safety signboards still bear advertisements, which the police say, do not have proper check.
“The signboards are placed whenever there is a need for them. The local law and order police inspectors and traffic police contact the people who offer to pay the police department earlier. Though we have to get permission from the Corporation, we do not do that as there is a mutual understanding between us,” said a police officer.
The officer added there is no specific criterion in choosing the sponsors. Any company that comes forward to place signboards or provide banners for the police will be welcomed.
Speaking to Express, a senior police officer attached to the law and order wing said they had acknowledged that placing advertisements was wrong and they would take necessary steps to take down the names of sponsors. He further said all police personnel in the city had already been warned and with other law-and-order problems at hand, focusing on this particular issue had become difficult for them.
A senior police officer said, “Placing advertisements of the sponsors with the name of the police station is a decision taken by the station incharge to get incentives from private companies. That is the case with signboards as well.
Whenever some business people or companies approach station heads with an offer as a thanks for taking necessary action against a complaint they have lodged, the personnel ask them to return the favour by placing signboards or barricades” A single signboard will cost `5,000 to `7,000 and the advertisements take over more than 80 per cent of space.
There are also several traffic booths and barricades in the city where advertisements can still be seen. Speaking about advertisements on the barricades and traffic booths, A Arun, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic), said those companies who sponsored the barricades and traffic booths were told that advertisement space would be provided for only six months after which the company names would be replaced with safety slogans.
“Private businessmen using police space for advertisements should not be encouraged. Once six months of time is over, the advertisements will be removed and no private company will be encouraged to provide barricades or police shelters,” said Arun.