MUMBAI: Senior IPS officer Vivek Phansalkar on Thursday took charge as the new police commissioner of Mumbai and immediately listed his priorities, saying terrorism is a major concern and maintaining law and order in the metropolis besides prevention and detection of crime will be focused areas.
Phansalkar succeeded Sanjay Pandey - who has retired from the police service - on a day when a new government with Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde as chief minister took office in Maharashtra. The 1989-batch IPS officer's appointment to the top post was announced by the Maharashtra home department on Wednesday.
Phansalkar took charge of his assignment at the police commissioner's office situated at Crawford Market in South Mumbai around 4:45 pm. Talking to reporters later, the top cop said he will strive to make the Mumbai police among the finest and strongest police forces in the world with the help of its personnel.
Phansalkar said that maintaining law and order, prevention and detection of crime are basic police duties and added that tackling terror threats and traffic issues, too, are important. "Mumbai's increasing population is a challenge. The city has been a target of terror attacks in the past, terrorism is a major concern besides law and order and traffic issues", he said.
Safety of senior citizens, women and children will be among the focused areas of the force under his tenure, Phansalkar said. Safety and security of each and every citizen is a priority for the police force, he added.
"We have a strong police force consisting of more than 48,000 personnel and officers and will work with them to provide best policing for citizens. We will create an environment where every citizen feels safe while moving in the city. We will see that people visiting police stations with their complaints get proper response," the senior IPS officer said.
Asked about the image of the Mumbai police in the last two-and-a-half years, Phansalkar said he has taken charge of the force during challenging times.
Speaking about the increasing activities of the underworld, the commissioner said detection and controlling crime had been the areas of strength for the Mumbai police and they will work in coordination with other security agencies to tackle organized crime syndicates. "Constabulary is the pride of the Mumbai police and we will do every possible to address their (constables') issues," he said.
Asked about increasing cases of cyber crime in the financial capital, Phansalkar said they have set up five police stations to exclusively tackle such offences. In the coming days, these cyber police stations will have better infrastructure and training, he said.
Citizens will be sensitized on cyber crime at the police station level and guided on how to avoid getting trapped by fraudsters, the IPS officer said.
Phansalkar was serving as the DG and MD of the Police Housing and Welfare Corporation before his current appointment. He has served the Maharashtra Police in various key capacities, including as Thane police commissioner and state ATS chief.