News : Mumbai Government Railway Police’s New Helpline Gets 140 Calls a Day
Mumbai, India, Dec, 2017 -- The new Government Railway Police (GRP) helpline ‘1512’, which is just one and a half months old, has already been flooded with complaints from commuters.
The helpline gets around 140 distress calls everyday.
The real-time helpline, which was launched by the GRP on October 2, was introduced to help commuters connect to the nearest on-duty policeman, facilitated by an ultra-modern control room.
From the GRP’s statistics from November 1 to November 30, of the total 4,236 calls received, the maximum number of calls complained about missing bags (2,986 calls).
On an average, the helpline received 99 calls daily from people asking for help tracing their belongings.
This was followed by quarrels inside the trains, which were 253 in a month.
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The GRP officers said that this helpline was introduced to ensure a quick response from officers on the ground.
Niket Kaushik, police commissioner (GRP), said that over the years, the mentality of the commuters has changed.
"It is saddening to note that most of the accused who molest and harass women on railway premises appear to be working individuals from decent, educated households,’ said Kaushik.
"We have checked CCTV footage of several incidents, where men in formal clothes who work for corporate offices are seen molesting and misbehaving with women, which makes it difficult for us to gauge their intentions and prevent such crimes before they can happen," he added.
Kaushik said that the entire incident usually takes place within seconds, and the time taken to respond to such distress calls is longer, which gives the accused ample time to escape. "However, now we have attempted to cut down the response time, and give the commuter help immediately," added Kaushik.
Multiple helplines confuse commuters
Suburban railway commuters in the city have been struggling with the confusion over multiple helpline numbers belonging to the Government Railway Police (GRP) and the Railway Police Force (RPF), owing to which they often give up on reporting the crime.
According to the commuters, the lack of awareness about GRP’s latest helpline ‘1512’, has proved to be a major drawback. The commuters said that they often get confused about which number to call, as multiple GRP and RPF helplines are available.
"Even now, the helpline numbers 983311111 for GRP and 182 for RPF are displayed on the information system in local trains, with no mention of the new real-time helpline," said Neha Kadulkar, an MBA student from Kandivli.
The police said that they have not begun awareness programs for the helpline yet, as they are waiting to merge all the helplines into one. "We have decided that with time, we will gradually merge all the helplines with 1512, and disconnect other numbers to avoid confusion among commuters," said Niket Kaushik, commissioner of police (GRP).
The officers said that they are yet to begin awareness programmes as the GRP has been facing a staff crunch, and is struggling to tackle crimes in its vast jurisdiction. GRP officials said that there are only 2,800 personnel from 17 police stations to man 128 railway stations. The officials added that at any given time, not more than 1,000 staff are on duty. "Along with the helpline, we have now started posting one guard in every train, especially in the women’s compartment during non-peak hours and at night," said Kaushik.
Commuters, however, feel that the GRP needs to create awareness about the helpline, as majority of the commuters are still ignorant about the real-time help they could receive with just a phone call. "Many a times, the other helpline numbers go unanswered, or it is too late by the time they respond," said Ambreena Shaikh, a commuter who works for a travel agency in Andheri.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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The Railway Protection Force (RPF) is a security force of India entrusted with protecting railway passengers, passenger area and railway property of the Indian Railways The Force is commonly referred as RPF. The Force is under the authority of Ministry of Railways (India). The strength of RPF is about 65,000. RPF is headed by Director General who is usually an Indian Police Service officer.
Published: Wednesday, December 27, 2017
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