The first all-women police squad takes to patrolling the streets of Bangalore, India’s Silicon Valley. And this is just the first step towards providing round-the-clock security service and a dedicated helpline for girls and women in the city.
While Delhi may be the rape capital of India, Bangalore has also been witnessing a worrisome rise in violence against women. Bangalore is a land of opportunities offering avenues both for higher studies as well as for better paying jobs. The city also welcomes people to a pleasant weather throughout the year. And that makes it an attractive destination for many aspiring Indians. Young men and women from all over India come to Bangalore to realize their dreams.
Bangalore used to get counted among safest cities for girls however the perception is changing fast. There have been many incidents of rape, kidnapping, and murder in the city prompting calls for tighter security. Those calls got intensified by the recent nationwide protests that followed the horrific gang rape and murder of a 23 year old paramedical student in Delhi. It was in response to those persistent demands for increased security that the Bangalore city police introduced all-women squad patrolling, on Thursday January 31, 2013, last week.
A new women’s helpline number 1091 has been set up that women in distress can call for help. Depending upon the nature of the call, the police control room will dispatch an all-women squad to handle the situation.
These female squads are called Abhaya which means fearless and their goal is to instill a sense of security among women. They will comprise of 3-4 specially trained policewomen. When not attending to any complaint, female police squads will patrol the city focusing on areas most frequented by women.
Currently, women make less than 1% of Bangalore’s police force – only 1000 policewomen among total 14,000. Considering that city police needs to recruit more women to make this new security measure effective. Otherwise, it will just stay as a symbolic gesture.