Zonal deputy commissioners of police (DCPs) in Mumbai have started contacting residents within their respective jurisdictions who have recently undergone passport verification to find out about the behaviour of police personnel who conducted the verification.
The latest initiative launched by joint commissioner of police (law and order) Deven Bharti is aimed at curbing alleged corruption and monitoring the work of the inquiry officers who conduct passport verification.
“From April 27, we have begun to collect feedback from the public regarding their passport verification process, since all the data will be electronic now and we are attempting to further smoothen the verification process. By taking feedback, for those who will apply for passports, we will open a channel between the public and the police,” Bharti said.
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When asked if the move was to identify the “black sheep” in the force, Bharti said it was an independent initiative to consolidate complaints from the citizens regarding passport verification and “improve the services offered”.
“We will primarily try and find out about the procedure and the time it takes, the behaviour and the attitude of the officer and his or her interaction with the individual,” the officer added.
Senior police officers added that the initiative also aims at finding out if the police personnel, who conducted the verification process, tried to indulge in corruption by demanding outright or even hinting at a bribe in exchange for speeding up the process.
“This is an attempt is to weed out any such attempts within the verification process and for officers to be more vigilant and pro-public,” said a senior police officer.
A zonal DCP said that he first introduces himself to the citizen, and speaks in general terms for a few minutes.
“We only ask much later if the individual was pressured for a bribe as we don’t want to scare them,” the officer said.
Several zonal deputy commissioners have said that the method to check this service mechanism has been productive.
“We have identified technical areas where the citizens struggle the most. I have called 15 people in the last six days and have received no complaints yet that would question my officers’ integrity,” said another zonal DCP.