BENGALURU : With nine cases of robbery, seven chain-snatching incidents, and 18 house, break-in and theft (HBT) cases registered within the first week of the new year, residents of several areas are up in arms against the police as they say that night time patrolling, a necessary exercise for the city, is not being carried out adequately to give them a feeling of protection.
“It is very difficult to find policemen on the streets post midnight. Save the very few traffic police checkposts that one can find a few times a week, the normal police is largely missing in our area. This leads to several unpleasant experiences on the road,” said a resident of Maruthi Sevanagar, near Banaswadi.
So is there a proper patrolling system in Bengaluru? Some senior officials say no, apart from the night strolls carried out by pairs of policemen between 11 pm and 5 am. The ‘Cheetahs’ of the city police, bike-mounted police, patrol only between 5.30 am and 8.30 am and 5.30 pm and 9.30 pm, a time when most of the city is awake and out on the roads. But when the traffic reduces and there are fewer people to be seen, the police are conspicuous in their absence as well, residents said.
According to senior police officers, patrolling in an area under a station’s jurisdiction is the responsibility of the inspector. Some officers say that in some cases, the inspector is unable to ensure a foolproof
patrolling method. “I have never seen any two-wheeler police vehicle patrolling through our streets. Patrolling is done in only certain areas such as railway stations and bus stands but not on small streets where there is more likelihood of crime,” said Akanksha Sharma, a resident of East Bengaluru.
Residents of Yelachenahalli and Jaraganahalli also shared a similar view. “At most, we see a traffic constable in the area,” says Aleem, a resident of Jaraganahalli. Residents of areas such as Bellandur-Sarjapur road and Ranka colony also talk about seeing patrolling though not on a large scale.
A senior police official (south) explained that there are two types of patrolling - preventive patrolling (constables moving to and fro during peak hours) and reactive patrolling (attending to distress calls). “Under preventive patrolling, we check the crime pattern and identify hotspots where crime is more likely to occur. Out of 450 personnel in the South Zone, 150 patrol in the morning and 300 in the evening in the south zone alone.
We are getting the constables to walk or use their two-wheeler instead of cars. For tackling chain-snatching, we have cops in muftis to catch the perpetrators,” said the official.“Out of approximately 24,000 sanctioned police personnel, there are only around 16,000 in the city. It is difficult to cover every single area in the city,” said deputy commissioner of police (control room) K Ajay Kumar when asked about why despite there being a so-called patrolling system, the crime rate has not reduced drastically.
Why no Hoysalas for patrolling?
Responding to residents demand that Hoysalas be asked to patrol the area they are located in, Kumar explained that currently, Hoysalas were deputed to answer only distress calls and not for patrolling. These vans follow a static point system where they are placed at specific locations for a period of one hour and then move to the next spot. However, they only respond to helpline calls.
Bengaluru police commissioner T Suneel Kumar said that patrolling would be ramped up in the coming days. Based on orders from Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, 911 bikes have been distributed across 155 police stations. “Patrolling will be done day and night. Each area is divided into beats (one constable patrolling in a designated area) and the inspector will be in charge of them. The respective DCPs of that zone will be supervising them,” he said.