Mumbai Civic Diary: Mumbai Police

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Policeman of the early 19th Century
Mumbai Police Headquarters
Mumbai Police Headquarters

Today the Times of India, Mumbai features an articles that talks about how 26% of Mumbaikars don’t know what is the full form of BMC. The city that you and I call home is governed most efficiently by a number of organisations and dedicated individuals who work tirelessly to ensure that our lives are comfortable and safe. Their jobs not only involve longer working hours but also occupational hazards such as poor health, lower wages and even a threat to life in some cases. Most civic organisations like BMC, Police,  try their best to make optimum use of both the material and human resources at their disposal.

However, one might argue about the poor sanitation in some areas, traffic snarls, incidents of robbery and rape and the list can be endless which undermine the above opening statement, but at the end of the day, one has to also realise that the increasing population exerts enormous pressure on all mechanisms. Also, you might point out the lackadaisical attitude of officials and bureaucratic hurdles that one encounters while dealing with them, but, the democratic structure of governance allows us – the common public numerous ways to demand accountability from these organisations and their officials. Starting today we launch the Mumbai Civic Diary to shed some light on civic organisations in Mumbai.

Today, our organisation in focus is the Mumbai Police. The organisation responsible for maintaining law and order, prevention and detection of crime, fighting terrorism and organised crime, ensuring communal harmony, smoother flow of traffic and protection of the citizens. The mandate of this department is broad and even with a strength of about 50,000 personnel, they have a tough job ahead. (Population of Mumbai: 13 million and counting.) The Mumbai Police, compared famously with Scotland Yard, is one of the most dynamic police forces in the world. It has been successful at solving various high profile crimes and has adapted itself to the changing nature of policing throughout the years. Before we talk about the present, lets go back a little in time.
Policeman of the early 19th Century
Policeman of the early 19th Century

History
The year was 1669, the East India Company was slowly realizing the bright potential of this group of islands, just handed over to them by the Portuguese in the form of a dowry. Merchant ships and their sailors stopped by, bringing with them wealth and riches. Sooner, street gangs started playing their game and the sailors were robbed off their wealth. This prompted Gerald Aungier, Governor of Bombay and the builder of the Fort to set up a force to curb this menace. He assembled a few hundred Bhandari (oldest settlers of Bombay, originally toddy tappers) youth and  organised them into security force. Known for their loyalty and bravery, Bhandaris have a long history of being warriors (one of the first chiefs of the Maratha Navy was Maynak Bhandari). And Aungier named it the Bhandari Militia. Dressed in yellow turbans and blue trousers, they started securing the docks and thus began the history of Mumbai Police.

Organisation
The force is headed by the Commissioner of Police who is assisted by four Joint Commissioners who are responsible for Law and Order, Crime, Administration and Traffic. Each of them equipped with an extensive manforce comprising specialised wings working on specific tasks relating to that  department.

The city is divided into 5 Regions namely North, South, East, West and Central each headed by an Additional Commissioner of Police and each region is equipped with its own control room. Each region is further divided into various zones and a total of 13 zones exist, each headed by a Deputy Commissioner of Police. Every zone is further divided and for every section, a Police Station is provided usually headed by a Senior Inspector. The police station is the first point of contact while registering a complaint or identity verification.

Quick Response Team
Quick Response Team

Special Units
The force is equipped with several specialised units that have a narrow mandate and look into specific operations. Mentioned below are some of the most prominent units.

1. Crime Branch: Handles detection and investigation of criminal activities including economic offences.
2. Social Service Branch: Responsible for Anti Trafficking operations, checking Copyright Violations and also counselling couples suffering from marital discord.
3. Anti Narcotics Cell: Instituted to curb dealing of narcotic substances
4. Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad: They are the first people to respond to a bomb threat and counter it effectively.
5. Anti Terrorism Squad: One of the premier units that has achieved considerable success in preventing and solving terrorist activities.
6. Cyber Crime Cell: To fight cyber warfare and protect citizens from online threats.

Mumbai Police also works actively with NGOs and other civil society organisations to educate the masses about securing themselves and supporting the police in various aspects of operations.

Reaching the Mumbai Police: 100 and more
We are all aware of the universally stated Dial 100 for Police. However, Mumbai Police along with 100, offers the citizens a host of specialised helplines.

Elder Line: 1090. It is a dedicated helpline for senior citizens in distress. It is an advanced GPS based system that tracks the callers location accurately, equipped to provide medical aid as well police assistance.
Alert Citizens Cell: 22633333. To report abandoned packages, suspicious activity, narcotics availability  and so on to prevent crime. One can also help during the investigation of crime by providing information regarding accused persons, witnessed accounts etc.
Anti Corruption Bureau: 24942618, 24921212 If you notice corruption in the city, call this number to report it.
Traffic Control Room: 24937755, 24937746 As the name suggests you can get and update traffic information on this number.
SMS your complaints: 7738133133, 7738144144

Find the complete list of important Police related telephone numbers here.

The Mumbai Police website is detailed and user friendly. It covers almost every aspect of the force. One of the most useful pages of the website is the newly added Citizens Corner which warns the citizens against the potential threats and frauds that they are likely to face in the city including an advisory on securing your vehicle from theft.

Accountability and Citizens Charter
All citizens are entitled to the Right to Information under the RTI Act of 2005 to seek information regarding the status of various investigations, licence processes or other such information that may be valuable and important to the applicant. One can register an RTI query if for example, the local police station does not act on your complaints. This is a great tool to demand accountability and bring about transparency in the day to day operations of all government organisations.

The Mumbai Police plays an important role in the governance of the city and thus needs our continuous support in all their activities. The Citizens Charter states the rights of citizens, arrested persons and also the grievance redressal mechanism in place. Look up the map of your local police station or look up the Mumbai Police’s Citizens Charter for more information.

Which organisation would you like to be featured next week on Mumbai Civic Diary? Share your thoughts and comments with us!

Images Courtesy: Wikipedia

Post By Rushikesh Kulkarni (22 Posts)

Runs Breakfree Journeys, a cult tourism outfit interested in outdoor travel and backpacking. On days that he is not wandering around the Western Ghats, he is spotted roaming in the bylanes of Bombay scouting for heritage history and good food.

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Rushikesh Kulkarni

Rushikesh Kulkarni
Runs Breakfree Journeys, a cult tourism outfit interested in outdoor travel and backpacking. On days that he is not wandering around the Western Ghats, he is spotted roaming in the bylanes of Bombay scouting for heritage history and good food.