October 20, 2015 @ 3:30 pm – 6:00 pm

On October 20, 2015, we held our fifth Social Sanchar with Mr. Ahmad Javed, Commissioner of Police, Mumbai, at the Royal Bombay Yacht Club. Citizens gained many insights into the working of the Police department from this interaction.

While the Police Department does the best it can to keep the city safe and secure, the onus, to a great extent also lies with us Citizens. As Citizens we need to actively play our part by effectively discharging our duties and undertaking our responsibilities.  Citizens’ partnership with the Authorities, plays a vital role in the better functioning of any Government Body.

Events like our Social Sanchar helps reach out to many individuals including those who could not attend the event physically but yet could participate from the comfort of their homes and offices.

Mr. Javed articulated the complexities and challenges the Police face in running such a large metropolitan city like Mumbai, with the existing laws and procedures.  Nevertheless, working knowledge of it will greatly benefit Citizens in appreciating and understand what it takes to implement good policing in a city.  While a large segment of the population is conversant of rules and regulations, a large percentage seemed to have forgotten the duties of a Citizen, which therefore has led to a wide-scale dichotomy that is difficult to balance off amid incidents and crisis.

If the Citizenry is more aware of both its Rights and Duties, then it can make the job of the Police much easier in creating a secure city with a stable law and order situation.  However, despite all the ups and downs, Mumbai still is a far safer city than most cities of a similar size in the democratic world.

Q:  The subway near the Sai Dham Temple and Western Express Highway at Asha Nagar Kandivili, is full of beggars, who are drug peddler in reality.  While complaints to the Police does receive temporary action, but within a short time, these persons occupy the place again. Several complaints have been made to the police but no permanent solution has been received yet – Ashwin Patel, Kandivili

Ans:  Since you have got a specific problem, my contact details are on the website of the Mumbai Police.  You can contact me through text or email as I will need to revert to the local Police to know the reality of the situation.

Q:  As the population of Mumbai is increasing so rapidly, and we cannot see any of the roads being constructed over here, so what are your plans to decongest the roads – Niharika Singh from IESP  

Ans:  Since road construction is not with me neither is the control of the population, all I can say is that it’s a challenge we will continue to face.  We have a lot of suggestions on them, e.g. the restriction of number of vehicles that can come on the roads, the parking space that is available as many own multiple vehicles.

Q:  Commissioner Sir, why do people feel apprehensive approaching the police or visiting police stations for any help / query / complaint, is it not high time the police gets a makeover as citizen friendly?

Ans:  On a larger level, I would agree with you.  There is a need to have a makeover for making it a more citizen friendly.  So on the one side, there is a determined and continuous effort to sensitize not only our personnel but also have in-service trainings on soft skills and how to be dealing with Citizens, who necessarily need to be dealt with differently as opposed to, e.g. a criminal.

The second thing is that the treatment meted out to a Citizen in a Police Station has to be civil and professional, so that even if the work cannot be done (if it does not fall within our purview), the response has to be such, that when the Citizen leaves, it is with the satisfaction that at least he/she was given a treatment befitting civil society.

Having said it, that it is also a challenge; remember that the Police also comes from the same society like all of us.  We have our own issues too.  Apart from training, we have taken inputs from others in the open market, to make the response of the Police much more Citizen friendly than it is. Any suggestion that will make it better, that is practical and doable, we would be looking at it more closely than we have done in the past, apart from professional policing.

Under the Indian Law, a bulk of it is a legacy of the colonial rule.  The original Act came into force in the eighteen hundreds, whose entire ethos assumed a Ruler and Ruled.  The breakup of the way laws or sections would apply in a given State looks into what the effort would be, that will be put in by the Police.

A whole lot of violations of the criminal law fall under Cognizable and Non-Cognizable offenses and most crimes have been classified in the Code.  When a Citizen comes with a complaint which falls under the Non-Cognizable category, when as per law s/he is told that under the law all that can be done is to record it only and then go to court, hundred percent of the times the person is not satisfied, especially if the person is a law abiding Citizen.

For example, I’ve been slapped by my neighbor, I want some action against that violation and I don’t want to take the law in my own hands and so I expect the Police to do it.  As a result about 70% of the Citizens who come to the Police Station are not satisfied with the response and claim that no action was taken by the Police.

Cognizable offenses also have issues of cases not being registered on time / delayed, but this is one of the bigger problems we face because of infrastructure and other challenges.  This will need to be tackled by a recheck of the entire criminal justice system.  Non registration of cognizable is just not allowed but by and large we have tried to make registration of cases as free and as open as possible even if it’s a case that will be taken up later. Many a times Citizens are not aware of cognizable and non-cognizable laws, which then makes the job of the Police even more difficult as it amounts to teaching of the law.

Yes there are exceptions.  The only way to get out of this is to get feedback from Citizens.

Accessibility to senior officers of the Police is very easy and given the kind of available communication today, Citizens should make use of this accessibility.

Most agencies do not respond as fast as the Police, which is an emergency service provider, and many matters come to the Police that pertain to the municipality and other agencies. The Police cannot take up such cases.  However, some Citizens give such cases a criminal twist, which the Police is then forced to investigate.  Here, too, only the criminal part of the cases can be taken up by the Police.

There’s really very little avenue for counseling or reaching out to the Senior Citizens in the city, who invariably suffer from loneliness.  The special helpline run by the Police for Senior Citizens receive numerous calls where Senior Citizens have no grievance but just need somebody to talk to.  There are number of volunteers who help out Seniors Citizens with personal matters but their ratio is very low.

Q:  I was one of the survivors of the 26/11 attack.  All of us feel that we are very very safe now.  How does the police plan to have a disaster management plan in the event such situation arises – Dilip Mehta       

Ans:   It was a good learning for us and we have a much more robust and much more effective response team for such eventuality.  Processes, hardware and technology has been improved drastically.

Q:  Dear Sir, I live and work in London and my entire family lives in Mumbai.  After Asif Sheikh incident, I’m worried for my family members.  How can you ensure that they are protected by the police instead of abuse?  Many thanks, Abdul Wahid Khan (contacted from London)

Ans:  Let me assure you Mr. Khan that there may have been aberrations, the overall safety of Citizens is not at stake.  Wherever there has been an infringement by Police Officers, we come down very heavily on them.

Q:  Is there a process of evaluating the police force?  Is there some engagement telling how the police in the neighbourhood is performing? Is there some way of getting feedback from people, their experiences at the police station when they visited? Suresh Goklaney

Ans:  Evaluations are reflected in the feedback we get at the senior level from the public. The responses vary a lot which makes evaluation difficult.  For instance, if action is not taken as per the expectations of the complainant or the matter is not within the purview of the Police, it generally results in negative feedback.

Secondly, people argue that certain sections are not correctly applied.  For example, sections of hurt are applied only on the basis of the medical report, which is generated by Doctors.  Aggrieved persons however accuse the Police of discrimination and other shortcomings.

Citizens also believe if specific good practices can be witnessed in other parts of the world, why not in Mumbai.  In other countries, laws are so clear and stricter.  For instance, violation of a red signal in a particular country roughly about 65,000 INR.  With laws like these in India, there would never be any violations.  In Europe, a Police Officer needs to seek permission of the person before conducting a search on them.

Q:  Sir, we often see our police behind bunkers with automatic rifles guarding sensitive spots including the Churchgate and VT Stations.  They are nothing more than sitting ducks in case of an unforeseen emergency.  Why do we not have more strategically placed watch points with basic amenities like fans etc behind bullet proof glass for these men – Shailesh Bhatia

Ans:  I am happy that Citizens also think of our safety. Some of our points need relocations but we are in the process of doing so.  Bullet proof glass may not be feasible but the process has begun.

Q:  Citizen-Police partnership; regular public meetings with students and what are you doing in terms of containing the rogue elements in the police force – Dolphy D’Souza

Ans:  Action to be taken depends on the result of an enquiry (run by a Senior Police Officer), whose mandate is to arrive prima-facie at a conclusion that there is some substance in the case.  There are numerous examples of aberrations in the Police Force, but at the same time there are sufficient number of instances where the public have deliberately misled to wrap up a larger agenda.

Q:  Normally it is believed that when there is an encroachment on roads or public land, it is the duty of the Police to correct this – Rajan Jayakar

Ans:  Removal amounts to physically removing encroachers.  Removal means they can be charged a fine of Rs. 1200, which is easy to do.  If the encroachers return, some other agency, ideally the Municipal Corporation, should ensure that re-entry is restricted, not the Police.

Q:  What are the right forms,  apart from following norms in question, having a bar at home, what is the right way to function around alcohol – Nayana Shroff    

Ans:  There is a prohibition in place which means one needs permissions to possess, transport and consume and the limited quantities which one is allowed to handle.  This is the law and there will be enforcement if a violation takes place.

Those who could raise questions or whose questions could not be answered may send in their queries to

Mr. Javed can be contacted directly on his mobile 9821058152 for any matters needing his intervention.

It was an interesting and enthusiastic session and the take away is that efficient and humane policing is a two way process.  It is not merely the responsibility of the Police, but Citizens must also participate in the process, have some awareness and understanding of the laws and work with the Police.  In countries where Citizens know the law and tend to follow it, policing is efficient.  That is a goal towards which we must all proceed.

To view the photos of the TogetherVCAN’s Social Sanchar,  click here.

To view the video of the TogetherVCAN’s Social Sanchar, click here.