Delhi Police Commissioner S N Shrivastava wants the uniform of civil defence volunteers to be changed to a colour other than khaki so people don’t confuse them with police personnel, and is learnt to have decided to write a letter to the Home Secretary in the Home Ministry in this regard.
Shrivastava had earlier directed all 15 DCPs to ensure that civil defence volunteers don’t use police barricades to stop and prosecute violators of Covid norms. He also asked them to ensure that people do not confuse civil defence volunteers with police personnel, and a clear distinction be made between them.
Sources said the behaviour of civil defence volunteers towards people on some occasions has led to concerns in the police department.
Sources said the police chief recently asked a Special CP (Crime) to monitor any cases filed against civil defence volunteers. “There is discomfort over some volunteers misusing the uniform, clicking photos of women and children before issuing a challan, and in some cases trying to take bribes,” said a source.
The top cop’s directive to DCPs had come after reports of volunteers issuing challans for Covid violations though they are not empowered to do so without sanction from the relevant authority. “It was conveyed that if civil defence volunteers are found issuing challans without appropriate authority, the district DCPs should write to the authority concerned in this regard,” a senior police officer said.
On April 7, the BJP had also demanded that the uniform of civil defence volunteers be changed to some other colour instead of khaki. Delhi BJP spokesperson Praveen Shanker Kapoor had written a letter to Lt-Governor Anil Baijal in this regard, saying people are being harassed in the name of implementation of Covid-appropriate behaviour.
In November last year, a 23-year-old man was arrested for allegedly impersonating a police officer and issuing fake Covid challans in Ashok Vihar. In January, three civil defence volunteers posing as policemen from the New Delhi area were arrested for issuing fake Covid-19 challans to people visiting Talkatora Garden.
After the incident, the Delhi Police had tweeted, “It is learnt that Civil Defence volunteers, who on their own have no power to prosecute for Covid violations, are doing so and are mistaken as Delhi Police personnel. Misconduct, if any, are attributed to Delhi Police. FIRs have also been registered in this regard and miscreants have been arrested. We appeal that people may verify their identity before accepting any challan.”