In the light of a series of high-profile sexual assault cases against children and women in Bangalore over the past few weeks, the Bangalore police on Monday were made to attend to a training workshop on handling such cases.
The workshop on the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, was held at the city police commissioner’s office on Monday and attended by officers above the rank of inspector. It was organised by the police commissionerate and the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights. Law experts from the National Law School also attended the workshop to guide the police.
A major concern raised by police officers during this workshop was the shortage of policewomen in the city.
It was pointed out that while the law prescribes that victims of sexual assault be handled by policewomen, the lack of women officers prevents the law from being adhered to. The police now proposes to set up a women’s unit in each division to solve the problem.
Police commissioner M N Reddi, who inaugurated the workshop, said the recent incidents of sexual assaults on children must serve as a lesson to the police and public on how to handle such cases.
The need for the workshop was realised following the public outcry over the police’s handling of the alleged rape of a six-year-old school girl at a private school in the city on July 2.
The school, which had closed down on July 18 following protests, reopened for students above Class V on Monday. Students of lower classes are expected to return once the school puts in place all measures prescribed by the police, including installing CCTV cameras on the premises and in school buses and setting up of a task force comprising management, parents and police.
The police also directed that drivers of school vehicles must not interact with students and that all vehicles employ women assistants.
Police commissioner MN Reddi said all schools in the city are mandated to follow these guidelines, failing which they could face action under the IPC as well as the Karnataka State Police Act.
Kiran Bedi tried to establish her credentials as a secular, pro-women candidate.