A paradigm shift in policing will be a reality once the Mahila Mitra, modelled on the Self Help Groups (SHG), is launched at all the villages in the State, Director-General of Police D. Gautam Sawang has said.
The Mahila Mitra will be the first point of contact for any woman in distress. Its members will offer services such as counselling and guidance, and help the women in distress in the registration of cases. In the days to come, we are planning to integrate the Mahila Mitra groups with the Village Secretariat system. Women are often subjected to abuse and harassment, and the A.P. Police will spare no effort to support them. In the days to come, we may see an increase in the registration of cases relating to violence against women, Mr. Sawang told The Hindu.
Unlike the Shakti teams that had been constituted with newly recruited women constables, the Mahila Mitra members will comprise policewomen who have experience and exposure in handling various issues at the police station.
In the coming days, the Mahila Mitra members will work in tandem with the Village Woman Protection Secretary, a functional assistant in the Village Secretariat.
This initiative by the A.P. Police comes close on the heels of an overwhelming response to Spandana, a grievance redress programme conceived by Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy. With women from the most vulnerable communities constituting more than 52% complainants in Spandana, the A.P. Police have decided to bring policing closer to the people.
At the end of the 17th Spandana, the police received 39,943 petitions across the State. Out of them, 37,810 have been disposed of.
The issues being brought up are being taken seriously, and 11,478 cases have been registered so far. Of the total number of petitions received, 15% are related to crimes against women.
While women are getting more access to the police stations, we would like to break down the myths further and improve the interface between the police and the people, the DGP said.