Mumbai Police Commissioner Subodh Jaiswal, known as a stickler for police etiquette and decorum, has placed a mirror outside his office so that visitors can ensure their clothes or uniforms are in place before meeting him.
The 1985-batch IPS officer, who was attached to the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) for a decade, also has two stick walkers — constables who guide him from his vehicle to his first floor office in the ground-plus-three-storey Mumbai Police Commissioner’s building at Crawford Market. Both these practices were in place before some previous commissioners discontinued them.
Sources said the mirror and two stick walkers were added to the commissioner’s office a few weeks ago. When Jaiswal reaches office in the morning, he receives a guard of honour from four police sentries. “One of the stick walkers (or stick runners) then guides him to his first floor office. He then stands outside the commissioner’s cabin for a two-hour shift until he is relieved by the other one. When the commissioner leaves for the day, the stick walkers guide him to his vehicle,” said a source.
An official familiar with police protocol said it was a tradition for over 150 years that when the Police Commissioner came in the morning, he was received by the “officer of the day”. “The officer of the day was normally from the police control room, also on the first floor of the building — it has now been shifted to the fifth floor of the new police building — who would earlier guide the commissioner to his chamber. Apart from that, as soon as the commissioner’s vehicle approached, four sentries from the armed police would come forward and give him a guard of honour,” he said.
“But several police commissioners had discontinued the practice of the officer of the day receiving them. Once they reached the officer, take the guard of honour, they’d go running up the staircase without anyone guiding them,” added the official. A stick walker, also referred to as a stick orderly in the army, is a junior ranking soldier or policemen assigned to accomplish minor tasks for the highest-ranking official at the location.
The mirror has been installed right next to the spot where the stick walker waits. Visitors, several of them police officers, can check if their attire is in place before meeting him. A former commissioner said there was a mirror outside the commissioner’s office even in the past so that those entering could check their uniforms first. “The commissioner is quite particular that officers and staff strictly follow the dress code and ensure their appearance improves the professional image of the force. Jaiswal has banned officers and staff from getting visible tattoos, and asked them not to don unkempt uniforms, and to strictly comply with rules laid down for chest name plates. They were also advised to avoid sporting any conspicuous religious symbols while on duty to promote social cohesion. Earlier, the staff who dressed in casuals were asked to don the police uniform, including the P-cap,” said an official.
Jaiswal has also moved the seating arrangement outside the cabin of the Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order), adjacent to his chamber, and set up a special visitor’s room at the other end of the first floor. “It did not seem appropriate for visitors to wait in the lobby. A proper waiting room was set up where visitors can be more comfortable,” said an officer.
Former Mumbai Police Commissioner M N Singh said: “I welcome the move as the office of the Mumbai Police Commissioner has a certain dignity and since this is a uniformed force, it does follow certain etiquettes.” Despite several calls and messages left by The Indian Express, Jaiswal did not respond.