Each police station in the jurisdiction of the Vadodara City Commissionerate will now have a “She Team” comprising a unit of women officers to attend to distress calls and complaints from women.
The initiative, with an aim to enhance response to women’s complaints and also build confidence among women in reporting crimes, was inaugurated by Gujarat Home Minister Pradeepsinh Jadeja at the Gandhi Nagar Gruh in Vadodara on Sunday.
The “She Team” will be the first respondents to women’s complaints arriving to the control room, Vadodara Commissioner of Police Shamsher Singh told this newspaper.
Singh said, “After taking over charge earlier this month, I went through the data of last year which indicated that close to 6,500 complaints were from women — domestic violence, harassment and even sexual abuse at the hands of known and unknown persons. We immediately decided to form the She Team, which will be part of every police station… They will not only compassionately hear the complainant but also work at building confidence among victims of abuse to increase reporting of crime.”
The “She Team” will also keep tabs on senior citizens in their jurisdictions and attend to calls. The teams will also patrol open grounds and known spots of eve-teasing and reported incidents of molestation or harassment.
Speaking at the event, Jadeja said, “Since Narendra Modi became the chief minister of Gujarat, there has been no curfew in Gujarat… peace in the state has made businesses feel safe about investing here… Now, we are taking steps to ensure that anyone harassing women will have to think of the consequences as a deterrence… The She Team will ensure that women are safe when they are outside their homes or even inside…”
The minister added that the government has decided to book those indulging in crimes under the Information Technology Act under Prevention of Anti-Social Activities (PASA) Act.
“Many women feel that if they complain, the accused will be out on bail and avenge the action. So, booking them under PASA is our way of ensuring the mental safety of women who want to come forth and complaint,” Jadeja added.
The She Teams will also keep vigil on coaching classes, paying guest accommodations, women’s hostels and other such places. Ahmedabad city already has a She Team in every police station.