‘We want people to understand that violation by one endangers lives of many,’ says Pune’s Joint Commissioner of Police

Sushant Kulkarni
pune curfew, coronavirus outbreak, India lockdown, Ravindra Shisve, pune news, indian express news

In the case of prohibitory orders against assembly of people, there are some areas where people are still coming out, especially in absence of police. This is one of the concerns. (File/Representational Image)

As the nation enters the sixth day of lockdown, Pune's Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Ravindra Shisve tells The Indian Express how the police is enforcing people's complaince with the curfew, how it is coordinating with other agencies and ensuring security for its personnel.

What is your assessment of the lockdown compliance till now in Pune city?

In the case of events, activities and establishments, there has been almost full compliance. Any entity under these three heads, which is not essential, is not functioning. In the case of prohibitory orders against assembly of people, there are some areas where people are still coming out, especially in absence of police. This is one of the concerns. We have identified these areas and are working on them. In case of vehicle ban, we are still finding people coming out for non-essential activities in their vehicles. There are some people who are making attempts to leave the city in non-emergency situations. Some are illegally facilitating them. This also needs to stop. In sporadic cases, people are still coming out for morning and evening walks. This is not how lockdown works. By this way, we may not achieve the intended social distancing.

What steps are being taken to increase the level of compliance?

First is stricter enforcement. We will not look back in registering cases against those who violate orders. We are also making sure that exemption is granted only in rare cases. We are also tracking movements in the city with the help of the available CCTV camera network and drones are also being employed to identify areas where people are coming out in large numbers. These areas will have increased police presence and enforcement.

How are police protecting themselves as they are enforcing lockdown? How is police force ensuring social distancing among themselves?

Several days before the lockdown was announced, we had started training our officers and staff on the issue of COVID-19. We have procured sufficient quantities of masks, hand gloves and sanitisers. We also have person protective coveralls, if needed in any case. A dedicated team is monitoring social distancing and adherence to safety measures during various allotted duties. We have shifted to online meetings to avoid exposure. Many of the checkpoints have been given portable wash basins.

Police is also undertaking awareness initiatives?

Yes. Since the beginning of the outbreak, our local police stations are spreading the message of social distancing on public address systems. We now intend to increase the number of these units. We have also taken dedicated slots on FM Radio and cable television networks to spread awareness. We want people to understand that violation of lockdown by a person looks like an individual act it but endangers lives of a large group of people.

How is police machinery coordinating with agencies like health departments, municipal corporations and others?

A nodal officer was initially appointed for coordination with agencies, including health and revenue departments and civic bodies. We now have appointed officers who will coordinate efforts with agriculture market committees, shelter homes, market yards and service specific associations. For the monitoring of home quarantined persons, we earlier physically sent our staff to houses. But it is now being done through facial recognition basis on phone apps.

What actions have been taken in instances of use of excessive force and steps to make sure it does not happen?

There is no justification for use of excessive force and we have taken action. We have now made sure that every checkpoint in the city is either under surveillance of a CCTV camera or is videographed. The staff is being continuously sensitised. But police teams will have to act in case a citizen takes law into his or her own hands.