By: Santoshee Gulabkali Mishra
About 200 women beat marshals attached to 93 police stations in the city will start patrolling the streets from the next month as part of Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria’s plan for ensuring safety of women.
Aged between 18 and 30 and trained in martial arts, these motorbike-borne marshals will be specifically looking out for molestors and other miscreants targeting women in crowded places.
“The move is aimed at preventing crimes against women in public places like malls, multiplexes, railway stations and markets. This is to instil confidence in women to come forward and complain about crimes like chain-snatching, molestation and harassment that are common in public spaces,” said a senior police officer, adding that it would also serve as potential deterrence for potential criminals.
A rigorous four-week training for women beat marshals began earlier this month at the Naigaon police headquarters. A senior police officer said that their selection had been made on the basis of fitness and communication skills and attention had also been given to their appearance.
“The beat marshals will appear very different from the saree-clad women constables. They will wear their uniform – trousers and shirts – and will ride motorbikes,” the officer added.
According to the officer, the training module is divided in four parts – Anaam combat, which is a mixture of martial arts like judo and karate, use of wireless methodology, small-arms training and motor-cycle riding.
“There are 20 women constables who already have driving licences for two-wheelers. The rest have been issued learning licences for driving motorcycles. These marshals will be armed with either a revolver or pistol,” said the officer.