A force comprising civilian traffic guides will be launched by the Mumbai Police on Tuesday at the end of a month-long recruitment drive. The project was set rolling in summer after Amitesh Kumar assumed charge as Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic). With the traffic police facing a severe staff crunch and a force of 3,500 personnel monitoring vehicular movement 24 hours a day, a need was felt to recruit and train civilians, said the police. The traffic police already includes wardens drawn from the home guards and comprising private security staff an students to assist traffic police personnel.
Beginning in June, the police began to distribute forms at each of its 34 traffic divisions across the city as well as uploading them on its website. The form asks prospective traffic guides to state their preference of location and the time slot they can make themselves available for.
“A lot of citizens assist in easing traffic congestion during festivals. Many of them have volunteered to help us. So we felt the need to raise a force of civilian traffic guides,” said a senior traffic police official. Depending on their availability, the guides have been allotted to traffic police stations and will work in two-hour shifts.
“The guides will not have powers to prosecute. We have trained them and will position them at busy traffic junctions. They are meant to assist traffic police personnel on the roads,” said the officer.
A senior police inspector at a traffic division said on condition of anonymity that the new force would help in easing some of the burden of an overworked department. “Considering the number of vehicles plying on the road, we are severely short-staffed, the new traffic guides will be a welcome addition,” he added. So far, the police have recruited roughly 2,000 guides, a majority of them college students.
“College students have shown the most enthusiasm for the programme as they have a sense of responsibility,” said
the officer. Of the newly inducted guides, 1,500 have been invited to the launch event at the National Sports Club of India in Worli on Tuesday, where Amruta Fadnavis, the wife of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, will formally launch the programme apart from launching a child security campaign in association with Cartoon Network.