Aiming an effective implementation of lockdown to check the spread of COVID-19, police have launched an experiment in Mehsana district in which people in the age group of 18 to 50 years stand a chance to be appointed as Police Mitra (Friend of Police), if they update their live status at home to police authorities every two hours throughout the lockdown period up to April 13.
Friend of Police (FoP) is an old concept in community policing under the Suraksha Setu initiative of the state government. FoPs get official identity card and their services will be availed of in case of accidents, natural calamity, etc.
Singh said that they have shared a WhatsApp number through media to which people between 18 and 50 years of age can send their selfies and live location every two hours throughout the lockdown period till April 13.
“After the lockdown period is over, I will review the data received on the WhatsApp number. If found fit, they will be appointed as Police Mitra by giving them official identity cards. I will also felicitate them,” said Singh.
“Everybody wants to be associated with police. Keeping that in mind, we have launched this initiative by incentivising one’s home stay in Mehsana during the lockdown period. There are certain criteria for being selected as Police Mitra and we have added this one more criteria to it. At present, our duty is to ensure effective implementation of the lockdown. If somebody is staying at home, he/she is helping the police. So, anyway, they are our friends,” Singh added.
Generally, there are eight FoPs in every police station. Social, political and religious leaders within the jurisdiction of a police station are also appointed as FoPs and they get renewed every year. Singh said that they were to renew the cards this month, but following the COVID-19 outbreak and lockdown, they have introduced this concept of staying at home for being appointed as Police Mitra.
“I have put the concept innovatively to make the lockdown effective and we are getting results. People are sending their live locations. I launched this initiative two days ago. And we are getting live locations of around 500 people. I am happy that people are responding positively,” Singh said.
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